Letter from Poetry Magazine

Peter Campion Responds

by Peter Campion

Thanks to Roddy Lumsden for his letter. I'm sorry that my description of "MIddleton" contains inaccuracies. I'll certainly change "British" to "American" should this piece ever see reprint. Inaccuracies make me feel dirty and cheap. But I should say on my own behalf that if some of the statements are "found," I'm not  sure the total effect of the poem changes that much. It's certainly not a poem that foregrounds its "foundness" with any collage-like framing. The tone of none of the sentences seems to separate from that of the speaker. And I still find that tone cliched. Also, the "president" in the poem appears only in the name of a road, "President's Road," which has a "kerb." And the idea that the blackflies in his poem are really the 9/11 attackers seem to me such a stretch (even if intended) that I suspect it exists only in the author's own parallel universe. But Lumsden, in addition to being a genuinely talented poet, is a gentleman not to moan. I won't either. If other readers see Al-Qaeda in that blackfly image, far be it from me to correct them.

Originally Published: February 1, 2010

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This prose originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2010


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 Peter  Campion


Peter Campion received his BA from Dartmouth College and his MA from Boston University. His collections of poetry include Other People (2005) and The Lions: Poems (2009). He has also written monographs and catalog essays for the painters Joseph McNamara, Terry St. John, Mitchell Johnson, and Eric Aho. He regularly publishes literary and art criticism in numerous journals and has won a Pushcart Prize.

Equally comfortable in formal . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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