Beginning with the arrival of the Campbell clan in Canada in 1827— “pale Scot farmers fording the river, / seated backwards in refusal”—Laws & Locks tracks the history of one family’s struggle with depression, madness and mental illness. Chad Campbell’s first book of poetry is a brilliant investigation, at once dazzling and unflinching, into the way our predecessors bear on our choices in the present, and how present-day consequences extend backwards in time. A skilled, self-possessed and clear-eyed poet, Campbell has produced a work of art that, while not quite confessional, transforms the private, dark, often stigmatized regions of his life into powerful poetry. It is a bracing debut. “Come now to the burning forest / not burning anymore and feel / safe enough.”
About the author
Chad Campbell is the author of the award-nominated debut collection Laws & Locks (Signal Editions 2015). His poems have appeared in journals across the U.K. and Canada, and are anthologized in The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry, The Best Canadian Poetry, and Carcanet New Poetries VIII. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he lives in Manchester where he studies and teaches at the Centre for New Writing.