The poems in this collection capture the fantastic feeling of falling in love, all while keeping eyes on its lifecycles of crashing aftermaths, lingering regrets, guilt, and renewal. Peter Campion brings us to a series of scenes—on the damp patio, in the darkroom, and along the interstate—where we find familiar characters, lovers, and strangers. In the title poem, he takes us to the falls, where people and passions mix amid the sticky hanging mists: That charge of summer nights, that edge, like everyone’s checking everyone out. Lingering a moment in the crowd gathered to watch the rush and crash and let the mist drift upward to our faces, I’m here: the future feels open again. Even alone tonight—still: open.
Campion’s poems introduce us to a range of people, all of whom are rendered with distinctiveness and intimacy. Their voices proliferate through the collection, with lyric folding into speech, autobiography becoming dramatic monologue, and casual storytelling taking on a ritualistic intensity. The poems in One Summer Evening at the Falls show how each character and each moment can be worthy of love and that this love both undoes us and makes us who we are. In narrative and lyric, in formal verse and free, Campion brings contemporary playfulness together with his classical talent to create this far-reaching and tender collection.
About the Author
Peter Campion is the author of Radical as Reality: Form and Freedom in American Poetry and of four collections of poems, Other People, The Lions, El Dorado, and One Summer Evening at the Falls. His poems have appeared in publications including Poetry, Slate, Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, and New Republic, among others. A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, he teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Minnesota. More information and events at www.petercampion.net.
“The world is with us in Campion’s bright new book, a phenomenal place where this poet’s powers are not wasted, but up-gathered into complex aching memory, a place of the saturated sensational real where human agency is thwarted by desires blunted against time and temperament. It’s where we live. Campion has the disabused but fired imagination to see it in a plausible scale, to find the balance and tone to pitch himself in relation to others who constantly adjust the frame. To traverse the distances, one must see them first; Campion looks where others miss or find too formidable to cross. There are many poets to love; this is one you can also trust.” — Joshua Weiner, author of Berlin Notebook: Where Are the Refugees?
“In this collection, Campion conceives of a formula to create out of the ‘less Romantic. More trained automatic’ of day-to-day life in the US. The poems here reiterate Campion’s exceptional sensitivity to sound, and his ability to listen and allow for the voices coming into his lines to become as integral to the poet’s conception of the self as any voice from within. With this rare ability, Campion composes poetry that places the American scene outside of itself and opens it to the rest of the world like no other American poet.” — Ahmad Almallah, author of Bitter English