Bookshop dogs are the best kind of dogs.
Thanks so much to those who have been coming along to events - next week I'm going to be in Oxford, Dulwich and Salisbury. Full details over here.
In other news, I found out this week that I'm on the shortlist for this year's Jane Martin Poetry Prize, and I'm completely thrilled that my poetry colleciton The Hungry Ghost Festival has been reviewed over at Sphinx Review. They seemed to like it. Here are a couple of things the reviewers had to say:
My favourite poem in this pamphlet is its opening one – ‘Kitchen’ – which also seems to me to embody what I enjoyed most about the work generally. ‘Kitchen’ strikes me, above all else, as celebratory. Despite having its context – a teenage, coming-of-age (coming-out?) rooted in a particular time and place – it captures something universal about liberation, and stepping through an invisible door to fearless living:
What would you do if I died right now, here, you asked,
your hand still resting on my thigh. Your eyes focused on the ceiling,
on the splash of curry sauce to the left of the light which doesn’t work.
We could have been in a field.
A wooden spoon dug into my back.
I thought it funny.
Let’s not talk of death where food is prepared, I said.
I like the line about the field – and Campbell’s confidence in including it...
...Campbell does bring me right inside her head. The writing is luminous, immediate, and (yes) magical. I imagine she fell in love with words early, spinning them into shining nets to save herself from a kind of drowning. She’s a real poet, in other words...
...The best in the collection? For me it’s ‘Kitchen’, the first in the pamphlet – a sort of falling-in-love poem with a difference: delicate, sensitive, but bizarre and hugely amusing as well. Jen Campbell has a lot of tricks in her poem-bag and it will be fun to track her future work, to see where she flies.