Semifinalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019 (Best Poetry category)
Shortlisted for the poetry category of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2019
Jen Campbell’s first collection The Girl Aquarium explores the realm of rotten fairy tales, the possession of body and the definition of beauty. Weaving between whispered science and circus, she turns a cracked mirror on society and asks who gets to control the twisted tales hiding in the wings.
‘Jen Campbell explores deformities, disability, and definitions of people, language and places. She reassembles accepted theories, ideals and conventions, and, like plasticine, re-forms them.’ - Carla Rosa Manfredino, Times Literary Supplement
‘It’s all about girls and bodies and nature and beauty and fairy tales. There’s darkness and there’s love and friendship. I loved the themes running through it and how they were able to connect the different poems together to weave this story… I really loved this.’ – Sanne, Booksandquills (My 10 Favourite Books of 2019 video), on The Girl Aquarium
‘This is the first poetry collection by Jen Campbell and is a body of work which leaps out at the reader and grabs him/her by the scruff of the neck… She looks at the world through her own personal and rather wonderful lens. I look forward to reading more.’ – Chase Magazine
'Poetry of innocence and wonder. Poetry of darkness and deformation. The poems about girlhood experiences are daringly original.’ – Daljit Nagra
'These poems push and pull you, making strange bedfellows of butchery, freaks, and the inner lives of girls. Her roller-coaster of vivid images threaten to tear the paper.' – Melissa Lee-Houghton
'I am impressed by the boldness, close to wildness, of Jen Campbell’s imagination. As well as being fascinated, I take her very seriously.' – Christopher Reid
'A collection of work that fizzes with linguistic dexterity and original phrasing. Campbell produces a distinctive and absolutely daring poetic space of her own.’ – Ahren Warner
'These poems are not for the faint-hearted but, wow, what a poet.' – Michael Mackmin, editor of The Rialto
‘I can’t help shivering as I read it.’ – Alice Oswald, on ‘On Crucifixion’
Jen Campbell reads ‘Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’
Jen Campbell reads her poem ‘Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’ from her Bloodaxe debut collection The Girl Aquarium.
Jen Campbell reads ‘Girl Lunar’
Jen Campbell reads her poem ‘Girl Lunar’ from her Bloodaxe debut collection The Girl Aquarium.
Jen Campbell reads ‘Netted’ (in Geordie)
Jen Campbell reads her poem ‘Netted’ (in Geordie) from her Bloodaxe debut collection The Girl Aquarium.
Jen Campbell on the Waterstones vlog
Jen Campbell in conversation with Will Rycroft of Waterstones talking about her first poetry collection The Girl Aquarium, and also queerness, dialect (in her case Geordie/Mackum) and why Hollywood is obsessed with disfiguring its villains and how that affects people afflicted by disfigurement.