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About Erik Campbell


Arguments for Stillness
Copyright © 2006
by Erik Campbell
Curbstone Press
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Arguments for Stillness is a debut book of extraordinary accomplishment, a vivid examination of daily life filtered through a Buddhist consciousness. Campbell's concerns are wide ranging — from political injustice to the solace of nature and the comfort of love. In essence, he is searching for balance in the center of quietness. These are clear, direct poems readily accessible, although they resonate with psychological and philosophical depth.
Arguments for Stillness, in short, is just that: a case for stillness and a lyrical exploration of contemplation in our world of frenetic motion, an examination and series of "arguments" for the quality and possibilities of stillness and reflection in spite and because of what Neil Postman referred to as our current "peek-a-boo world." The theme of the collection is perhaps best expressed in the last two lines from Campbell's poem, "Considering Metal Man (as a Template for World Peace)": "Look how he sits and stares, they say. Observe how / Nobody dies because of this."
Reminiscent of the work of Billy Collins, these are finely wrought poems — thoughtful, witty, precise — reflecting upon business, movies, literature, and art. — from the publisher

Erik Campbell's poetry is wise without preaching, smart without intimidating, artfully fun without shallowness. Sit down, shut out the world for a couple of minutes, read three poems from this collection at random, and you'll see why I am recommending him in the same breath as Wendell Berry. — Eric Robbins, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, ME

There are times to delight in the discovery of a new voice. ... Arguments for Stillness by Erik Campbell is an argument for early recognition of a master-in-formation. — The Indianapolis Star

A truly excellent book of poems. Erik Campbell sings them with measured precision. His voice is one I look forward to hearing again—then again and again. — William Kloefkorn, Nebraska State Poet

Erik Campbell has given us a fast-paced, free-wheeling romp through world culture — from the Great Pyramids to the corner Kwik Shop, from Rilke to the Rolling Stones. Part brainiac, part class clown, Campbell is the consummate quick thinker, sifting meaning from the white noise of mass media, while wrestling with Aristotle and Neil Postman. In lesser hands, the result could be a dazzling mess, but these poems weave into an unexpectedly intricate bildungsroman, whose hero likes us and wants us to share his journey. With these poems as our guide, how can we resist? We like him, too; we're along for the ride. — Ted Genoways, editor, The Virginia Quartely Review

Most compelling is the way the poet is able to illustrate the radiance of ordinary lives, poetry's most ancient and most honorable concern. For its disciplined emotion, its honesty and the clarity of its figures of speech, Arguments for Stillness is a most satisfying and moving collection. — Bruce Weigl, author of The Unraveling Strangeness

I found it fascinating to follow the record of Erik Campbell's witty, heart-felt journey in search of, and in praise of, that still center: the source of all poetry. — William Jay Smith, author of The Cherokee Lottery

An enthusiastically written collection, brimming with energy and the vivacious need for expression. — The Midwest Book Review

The author's first book of poetry reveals years of devotion to his craft ... a superior collection! — Rochelle Lynn Holt, Reflections<.i>

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