Jen Campbell Readings
‘I love these poems for their invention and bravery, their moving magic. Jen Campbell leads us to the places where land meets sea and borders are precarious, where the tender longing for a child entwines with the struggle of IVF, and where the traumas of girlhood and womanhood, disability and enchantment are woven together in a complex and vivid tapestry. A beautiful collection.' – Liz Berry
Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit explores disability, storytelling, and the process of mythologising trauma. Jen Campbell writes of Victorian circus and folklore, deep seas and dark forests, discussing her own relationship with hospitals — both as a disabled person, and as an adult reflecting on childhood while going through IVF.
Jen Campbell grew up by the sea in the northeast of England. She is an award-winning poet and bestselling author of twelve books for adults and children. She has won both the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and an Eric Gregory Award. Her poetry pamphlet The Hungry Ghost Festival was published by The Rialto in 2012. Her first book-length collection, The Girl Aquarium, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2019. Jen Campbell won the Spelt Poetry Competition 2022 for her poem ‘The Hospital Is Not My House’ from her second collection Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit.
‘Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit is the new collection by the North East poet Jen Campbell. I was so affected by these intimate, wildly imaginative and elegant poems exploring disability and illness across personal, contemporary and historical landscapes.’ – Will Mackie, New Writing North (New & Recent Poetry from the North)
September online launch event with Bloodaxe Books
Jen Campbell joined Nicole Sealey, plus the winner of the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition, Courtney Conrad, for this online reading and discussion event hosted by fellow Bloodaxe poet John Challis, who was standing in for editor Neil Astley.
I miss doing events, so I filmed this video: A delayed launch for The Girl Aquarium
Frustrated with not being able to get out and about during the pandemic, Jen Campbell does an online launch event for The Girl Aquarium two years after the book came out – marking Disability Pride Month. She introduces and reads a selection of poems from the book, and talks about the ways in which her poems draw upon fairy tales and explore attitudes towards disability, and how disabled people were exhibited in fairground and circus freak shows in earlier times.
[18 September 2023]