Big Avalanche Ravine
Just the warning light on a blue crane.
Just mountains. Just the mist that skimmed
them both and bled to silver rain
lashing the condominiums.
But there it sank on me. This urge
to carve a life from the long expanse.
To hold some ground against the surge
of sheer material. It was a tense
and persistent and metallic shiver.
And it stayed, that tremor, small and stark
as the noise of the hidden river
fluming its edge against the dark.
In his second collection of poems, Peter Campion writes about the struggle of making a life in America, about the urge “to carve a space” for love and family from out of the vast sweep of modern life. Coursing between the political and personal with astonishing ease, Campion writes at one moment of his disturbing connection to the public political structure, symbolized by Robert McNamara (who makes a startling appearance in the title poem), then in the next, of a haunting reverie beneath a magnolia tree, representing his impulse to escape the culture altogether. He moves through various forms just as effortlessly, as confident in rhymed quatrains as in slender, tensed free verse. In The Lions, Campion achieves a fusion of narrative structure and lyric intensity that proves him to be one of the very best poets of his generation.
Praise for Other People
“Campion is a poet who knows that what a poet sees is nothing without a mixture of formal prowess and emotional insight.”—David Biespiel, The Oregonian