Earlier this evening I was delighted to attend the launch of Julieann Campbell’s collection of poetry, ‘Milk Teeth’, published by Guildhall Press, Derry.
‘Milk Teeth is a celebration of all that is new and much that is old. A new mother sees the world afresh through the eyes of her child, aware that her own childhood is ‘trapped in videotape’. She revels in musty pages of the Derry Journal file room and rues the day the company phones arrived. Online dating, text-speak and dizzyng space -jumps – this is life in the 21st century.’
This is Campbell’s first solo collection of poetry. I was fortunate to get a copy of the book earlier today and had planned to read it prior to the launch, but time didn’t allow for such. After hearing Julieann read from her collection a short while ago, I’m glad that I didn’t get the time earlier to have a sneak read. Had I done so, I would not have captured the emotion and the sentiment which is very much present in this work.
Hosted by Freya McClements and guest speaker Felicity McCall, the night reached its peak on the reading from Julieann herself. Both Freya and Felicity praised Campbell and her work but nothing prepared me for hearing the
words written by Julieann as she read.
There were poems about motherhood, her work, her family and more. Perhaps as a mother myself I could clearly relate to the emotions expressed in this; words about that first night having just brought your new baby home (The Day We Brought Her Home); the learning curb of motherhood from the mother (Mother and Child) and many more. It touched me greatly.
Much of this work is a celebration of family and the importance of family. Her unending love for her beautiful daughter Saffron is evident throughout the collection.
The memory of her father is captured lovingly and fondly in her work. The particularly poignant poem, ‘The Comb’ set a tear in everyone’s eye I don’t doubt. Losing a simple comb which belonged to the author’s father had such deep meaning and sorrow and yet a real sense of happiness. Happiness in that she has captured the significance of the comb in a poem. The comb is no longer lost as she has ensured it is very much present in her memory and lives on in these words. It encapsulates how important her father was and will continue to be.
Campbell reflects on the importance of memory and the power that it holds. She reflects on the importance of history and most importantly she reflects on the power and the emotion of experience.
‘Fused with a raw, bold emotion, Milk Teeth explores our yearning for familiarity while encountering change at every turn’.
So as I embark on my reading of this collection of poetry tonight, it won’t be with the naive quick glance which I might have given it earlier: it will be with a determination to relate to this very talented poet and engage a little more deeply than first anticipated, with some very honest and truly thought provoking, inspiring words. As Felicity McCall has said, ‘this is truly one to treasure’.
I look forward to the read and a review will follow 🙂