Many thanks to Poetry for commissioning such a long review of my book [“Strangers,” by Peter Campion, December 2009], and to Peter Campion for his kind and incisive remarks. As to Campion’s more negative views, I agree with the convention that poets ought not to have a moan in reply! However, there are two inaccuracies I’d like to address. The poem “Middleton,” which is the focus of Campion’s criticism, is, as explained in an endnote, a largely “found poem” collaged from an Internet forum and so is not the best piece to use with regard to comments on my diction. As to this poem being, as Campion reads it, an attack on aspects of the British class system, it is to me quite evidently set in America—we don’t have a president in the uk and haven’t been attacked by “death pilots.” It’s set in a dystopian, parallel-world, middle-American city.
london, united kingdom