American Academy of Arts and Letters, Citation for the Rome Prize:

“Because his language is so alive and spicy, Peter Campion can write about almost anything and make it memorable. His poems are equally at home in the cities of today and in the wreck we’ve made of nature. Reading him, you feel the whole weight of American poetry from Whitman through Hart Crane and Kenneth Koch ennobling his lines and giving them both their form and their crackle.”

Photo credit: Sarah Green, 2014

Carol Muske-Dukes | Los Angeles Times

“Campion’s gifts for controlling yet spinning the illusion of lost control in a poem are prodigious.”


Publishers Weekly

“Devotion to fatherhood; an economy strained to where it almost snaps; an inheritance of venerable forms (Dantean tercets, heroic quatrains) able to handle contemporary troubles; American cities (Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles) and the wide spaces between them; and modern media, ‘a trace / of networks’ that won’t leave us alone—from these materials Campion constructs his thoughtful, intensely memorable, and sometimes winningly exasperated third collection.”


Jonathan Farmer | Slate, “Best Poetry Books of 2013”

“Campion thinks openly and gracefully in his poetry, reckoning with the uniquely privileged state of being privileged in America right now, as well as the ethical and intellectual burden it requires of anyone who chooses to live fully aware. El Dorado wears its real and compassionate intelligence with all the alert articulation of our skin—the same skin through which Campion summons hints of ‘one molten soul inside / the finite ways skin rides the bone and bone / pulls skin across it.’”


Steele Campbell | Sycamore Review

“Peter Campion’s new book of poems, The Lions, articulates both the private intimacies of life and a robust involvement with the natural and political world. . . . Campion’s highly polished prose is always surprising and yet never jarring, leaving the reader ultimately forced to mete one’s own balance among the many forces playing into the quotidian, but allowed the brave, private ruminations of a poetic predecessor. The Lions shows that balance is possible without sacrificing any poise or elegance. A fine addition to contemporary poetry, I look forward to this young poet’s next compilation.”


Daisy Fried | Poetry Magazine

“Campion’s meticulous poems have dangerous edges. He’s a major American poet in the making, if not already made”


Andrew Osborn | Spoon River Poetry Review

“Subtly astonishing. . . . Campion’s images are brave and unrelenting, precise.”


Joanie Mackowski | Contemporary Poetry Review

“These are daringly beautiful poems. . . astounding. . . No matter how many books Peter Campion has written or published, The Lions makes clear his enduring contribution. . .”


David Biespiel | The Oregonian

“Campion is a poet who knows that what a poet sees is nothing without formal prowess and emotional insight.”


Robert Pinsky | AGNI

“Closeness of the uncanny to the quotidian is Peter Campion’s kind of material. . . . The literal and figurative fire, and kinds of fire, make themselves felt in an exhilarating, animated conjunction of wit and feeling, eloquence an discovery.”


Elizabeth Hoover | Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Awash in signals—televisions, cell phones, car radios—we are distracted from the here and now. Campion roots his poems in time and place, not by tuning out those signals, but by integrating them into rich meditations on place. . . . In Campion’s poems, the speaker listens, remembers, and records. Even in liminal spaces like waiting rooms and highways, he searches for America’s ‘barely knowable soul / swift as an eel escaping the slit mesh.’”


Ron Slate | Blackbird

“Peter Campion’s voice is essential to the telling of the struggle of our time.”


Tova Gannana | The Rumpus

“The voices in El Dorado are what give authenticity to Peter Campion’s vision. . . . El Dorado is a book grounded in the very earth its title separates itself from. Its champions like the unknowns made known by Brassai are the ones we will continue to look at.”