It seems like nearly all the poets whose work cracks open my skull are haunting some relatively anonymous college town checkered with freight tracks, that they spend their daylight teaching students or raising children and their nighttime giving transformative readings in dark bars and crowded coffee shops. I’ve always had a strong bias toward working class writers. I also have a strong bias towards poets who aren’t assholes. David Campos wins on both counts.
I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting him once, at a lit event in Fresno. Any writer who has visited Fresno knows that it’s a fairly low income area that boasts an impressive roster of poets including Juan Felipe Herrera, Lee Herrick, and of course, Phil Levine. So needless to say, the bar’s set pretty high. But David so impressed me with his humility and friendly accessibility that I went right home and looked up more of his work. I’d probably only read two or three of his poems online before I stopped everything, dug up his contact info, and half-asked half-pleaded for him to send us some work.
If you take a look at this month’s Poetry Feature, I think you’ll be glad I did.
David Campos, a CantoMundo fellow, is the author of Furious Dusk (Notre Dame Press 2015), winner of the Andres Monotya Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Luna Luna, Boxcar, and Queen Mobs Teahouse among many others. He teaches English at Fresno City College and College of the Sequoias.