Arguments for Stillness

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-1-931896-26-9
Publication Date
April 2006
Page Count
90 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

Arguments for Stillness

Erik Campbell

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, the homeless, business, movies, books, and art. With an introduction by Nebraska State Poet William Kloefkorn.

About the Author

Erik Campbell is an American poet. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous prestigious literary magazines, including The Iowa Review, Tin House, The Massachusetts Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Nimrod, New Delta Review, and Rattle. His first poetry collection, Arguments for Stillness, was named by Book Sense as one of the top ten poetry collections for 2007. His second book of poetry, The Corpse Pose, was published in 2016. Previously a resident of Papua, Indonesia, he is currently an adjunct professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University. 

"Arguments for Stillness by Erik Campbell is an argument for early recognition of a master-in-formation." —The Indianapolis Star

"A truly excellent book of poems. Erik Campbell sings them with measured precision. His voice is one I look forward to hearing again—then again and again." —William Kloefkorn, Nebraska State Poet

"Erik Campbell has given us a fast-paced, free-wheeling romp through world culture—from the Great Pyramids to the corner Kwik Shop, from Rilke to the Rolling Stones. Part brainiac, part class clown, Campbell is the consummate quick thinker, sifting meaning from the white noise of mass media, while wrestling with Aristotle and Neil Postman. In lesser hands, the result could be a dazzling mess, but these poems weave into an unexpectedly intricate bildungsroman, whose hero likes us and wants us to share his journey. With these poems as our guide, how can we resist? We like him, too; we're along for the ride." —Ted Genoways, editor, The Virginia Quarterly Review