Through the streets of Buffalo, Olmsted’s parks, Forest Lawn, Soho, and Crescent Street, Montreal, Jennifer Campbell’s word images never cease to accost the reader with their freshness and vulnerability. In fact, perhaps this is the main thread that weaves her poems together: what fragile creatures we are in our search for comfort and self-expression. A true lover of language, Campbell seeks to discover, by softening “everything mundane into beauty,” phrases that help us rise above it. And while the ghosts, dreams, and demons in her work are not “easily deleted,” Jennifer Campbell, the woman and poet, never shies away from confronting conflicts and loss, creating fresh images like her “custard moon,” and peeling away more layers of language, like the pages in this complex volume of remarkable poems.
- Perry S. Nicholas, English professor and author of What the World Sees, Small Crafts, and other books.
Supposed to Love, Jennifer Campbell’s splendid new book of poems, is so enjoyable to read that I had to wait until my second time through before I could stop and think about the poetry’s amazing depths of meaning. In the title poem, the poet tells a man who is having an affair with a much younger woman that it won’t last. In a book full of great endings, the final line here is “Even your wife, the one you are supposed to love, knows that.” From then on, the idea of “supposed” is in the air we breathe in poem after poem. The voice in almost every poem is Campbell’s own, sometimes as a poet, often as a mother or daughter or wife or friend or acquaintance, of the person she writes about. Every poem lights up for the reader with the magical choice of words.
- Loren Keller, poet and playwright, author of Evening Everything: the Collected Poems of Loren Keller and many other books.