Today dear readers I am reviewing White Eye of the Needle (Published Paperback 12th April 2021 By The Choir Press) By Chris Campbell. A big thank you to Isabelle from Fly On The Wall Press for sending me a copy to read and review, always appreciated.
White Eye of the Needle
White Eye of the Needle is the second collection of poems by Chris Campbell, following his book Bread Rolls and Dresden, published by The Choir Press in 2013. This collection, written over six years, looks at the riches of life, its adventures and patterns. These 25 poems are united in their aim to challenge comforts and hardships as they cover themes of love, family and hope. Observational in tone, the poems explore connections with those around us, old and new, from loved ones to strangers who pass by. They focus on human – and sometimes animal – nature, special moments, relationships over time, and detail the strength and beauty of those ties, when so much can feel out of our hands. The book also touches on romance, marriage, the birth of a nephew, passing of a grandad, and recent experiences through lockdown and restrictions, as it seeks to find meaning in places, at a time when we’ve all been forced to slow down and reflect. The collection was put together in Nottingham and includes pieces from the author’s time in Bristol, London, Swansea, Glasgow and Gloucestershire, plus visits abroad including a honeymoon in Madagascar and trips to Tignes, France. White Eye of the Needle has been illustrated by Sandra Evans, a graphic designer and illustrator in Swansea Bay, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the media industry. Sandra was creative designer at the South Wales Evening Post and takes inspiration from the nature around her, with a passion for wildlife and the environment.
About the Author
Chris Campbell, born in Dublin, is a former national and regional journalist who worked for newspaper titles in London, Bristol, Bath, south Wales and Gloucestershire. Chris has a passion for poetry, writing and travel and has judged young writer competitions in Swansea. he graduated with an MA in Journalism from Kingston University and a BA (hons) in Economic and political Development from the University of Exeter, with a year’s study in Uppsala, Sweden. he currently lives in Nottingham.
This collection of poems explore love, life, family, hope and lockdown. From the old to the new, Campbell’s poems capture nature in all its wild beauty and those special moments shared behind closed doors in relationships.
The past year has changed how we live forever. Life in lockdown has been an experience for us all. Campbell reflects on this in some of his poems such as Chimney snorkels. The cafés and pubs are empty, people social distance and wear masks. Yet he brings a positive attitude to his writing. Things may seem bleak now but there are better days ahead, there is a bright neon flashing pizza sign at the end of the tunnel saying we will once again all be together.
We have all become accustomed to life behind a screen. It’s a part of our everyday life with Zoom meetings and FaceTime calls. It’s hard to imagine life without technology and the ability to see loved ones from far away. When I read Virtual coo it made me realise how hundreds of people will be seeing their first glimpse of a new family member through a screen. Campbell has brought not only the reality of our situation to this poem but also the joy and celebration of witnessing new life. He makes it a positive experience and ends with the hope that someday soon they will be able to meet.
Campbell brings the blinding beauty of the details in his poetry. He conjures the atmosphere right into your living room. When I read Synchronised buskers I could hear the rustle and bustle of the market traders. I was mesmerised and caught up in all that was happening around me. I loved it!
I enjoyed reading the sweet, endearing intimate moments in Campbell’s poetry. In Yellow Dress he uses beautiful imagery to reflect on a moment he wishes to pause. When I read You Shine I could feel the love and warmth radiating off the page. The simple act of a kiss and basking in the sun, sipping coffee and hearing the children’s cries from outside fading away. It was bliss to envision and I could relate to whiling away the hours with a loved one. For a minute I could close my eyes and escape.
I give White Eye of the Needle a Four out of Five paw rating.
Full of beauty, love and comforting imagery these poems will bring you hope and the realisation that life will always find a way. It might not be the way we are all used to but one day at a time we will get there.
Hop hop wiggle wiggle