The Lions

The Lions

by Peter Campion




Big Avalanche Ravine

Just the warning light on a blue crane.

Just mountains. Just the mist that skimmed

them both and bled to silver rain

lashing the condominiums.

But there it sank on me. This urge

to carve a life from the long expanse.

To hold some ground against the surge

of sheer material. It was a tense

and persistent and metallic shiver.

And it stayed, that tremor, small and stark

as the noise of the hidden river

fluming its edge against the dark.

In his second collection of poems, Peter Campion writes about the struggle of making a life in America, about the urge “to carve a space” for love and family from out of the vast sweep of modern life. Coursing between the political and personal with astonishing ease, Campion writes at one moment of his disturbing connection to the public political structure, symbolized by Robert McNamara (who makes a startling appearance in the title poem), then in the next, of a haunting reverie beneath a magnolia tree, representing his impulse to escape the culture altogether. He moves through various forms just as effortlessly, as confident in rhymed quatrains as in slender, tensed free verse. In The Lions, Campion achieves a fusion of narrative structure and lyric intensity that proves him to be one of the very best poets of his generation.

Praise for Other People          

“Campion is a poet who knows that what a poet sees is nothing without a mixture of formal prowess and emotional insight.”—David Biespiel, The Oregonian


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226093109
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Series: Phoenix Poets Series
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Peter Campion is assistant professor of English at Auburn University, editor of Literary Imagination, and a recipient of a Pushcart Prize. He is the author of Other People, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents



In Early March
Bad Reception 
Scrapbook: 2006
The Great Divide         
So Here Is How We Live Now           
The Presidio: After Morning Thunder   
Invisible Bird   
In Late August             
1980: Iran       
Just Now         
1989: Death on the Nile           
New Hampshire: Lake at the Back of Memory 
Big Avalanche Ravine  
Recurring Dream in a New Home        
The Lions        
Display Copy  

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