Arguments for Stillness
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 small farmers, hoboes, business, movies, books, and art. With an introduction by Nebraska State Poet William Kloefkorn.
Erik Campbell lives in Papua, Indonesia, working as a technical writer for an American mining company. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous
prestigious literary magazines, including The Iowa Review, Tin House Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Nimrod, New Delta Review, and Rattle. He has been nominated for a 2005 Pushcart Prize in poetry.