Jen Campbell's Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit reviews & poem features
‘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)
Jen Campbell's second poetry collection Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit is published by Bloodaxe on 21 September 2023. It is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2023. The poem 'The Hospital Is Not My House’ from the collection won the Spelt Poetry Competition 2022.
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. Her first book-length collection, The Girl Aquarium, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2019. She currently lives in London.
Two poems from the collection are featured on Bookanista here, introduced by Jen Campbell, to mark publication.
‘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. The longer sequence ‘The Hospital is Not a Place’ is especially impressive, while many of these poems draw you in so close it feels genuinely immersive.’ – Will Mackie, New Writing North (New & Recent Poetry from the North)
COVERAGE ON YOUTUBE
Savidge Reads, online 14 September 2023
Simon Savidge warmly recommended Jen Campbell’s second collection Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit in his ‘What I Read in August | Reading Wrap Up | 2023' video of 14 September.
‘I found this so moving. I think it’s incredible, absolutely incredible.’
He spoke about Jen’s experiences of having operations when she was young, and of going through IVF as an adult, both of which are covered in the book. He called the collection ‘brave’ and ‘incredibly generous’. He flagged up the poems ‘When I Revisit This Room, I Want to Leave Again’ and ‘Alopecia’. Scroll down to watch Jen's video reading of 'Alopecia'.
Simon discussed Jen’s book from 37:04.
Kendra Winchester, online 12 September 2023
Kendra recommended Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit in her 'Recently Read & Currently Reading' video of 12 September. Kendra is a US booktuber and reviewer, and featured Jen’s debut collection The Girl Aquarium in her Book Riot ‘8 Disabled Poets to add to your Poetry Month TBR’ in April. Read her review here.
Kendra talked about Jen’s new book in the recently read section of her video. It was one of her most highly anticipated books of the year, and did not disappoint.
‘It is the best poetry collection I have read this year… I love it!’
Kendra spoke about Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit from 9:34.
LIVESTREAMED LAUNCH EVENT, 19 SEPTEMBER 2023, 7.15pm
Jen Campbell, Courtney Conrad and Nicole Sealey launched their new poetry collections at Bloodaxe's live-streamed launch event on Tuesday 19 September 2023, 7.15pm BST. All three poets read live and discussed their new collections with each other and with the host, Bloodaxe poet John Challis. Courtney Conrad's pamphlet I Am Evidence is published as the winner of the 2022 Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition, judged by Imtiaz Dharker.
Now available to watch on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOWG0Q2foA
Jen Campbell reads ‘Anatomy of the Sea’
Jen Campbell reads her poem ‘Anatomy of the Sea’ from Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit.
Jen Campbell reads ‘Alopecia’
Jen Campbell reads her poem ‘Alopecia’ from Please Do Not Touch This Exhibit.
[18 September 2023]