Sunday, 23 December 2018

Winter Roses

Canal Wreath by Phil Speight

This year I was commissioned to write a winter poem for The Poetry Society. I decided to take as my theme the hard graft that goes into maintaining a narrowboat during the coldest part of the year, as well as a life aboard, in particular the restoration of the traditional 'roses and castles' decorations.

The poem appears on the reverse of cards (blank inside) with a gorgeous wreath by traditional canal painter Phil Speight; sets can be purchased via The Poetry Society shop or in the Poetry Society Cafe in London - where my Canal Laureate exhibition Outlook and Inrush is on show until 2 February 2019.

I'm sharing wreath and poem here to wish all my friends and followers a productive winter and a peaceful and happy new year.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Library of Ice: Reviews

It's one month since the publication of The Library of Ice, and I'm grateful that the book has received incredibly perceptive and positive reviews. My thanks to all the reviewers, and a special shout out to Patrick Barkham for selecting The Library of Ice as one of the Best Books of 2018 in the nature category in The Guardian. Here's a round up of reviews available online - click on the link to read in full.
  • "A refreshing lack of romanticism." Gavin Francis in The Guardian
  • "Campbell ... has invented a new kind of time-travel-writing. She is, unquestionably, one of our brightest stars." Horatio Clare in The Spectator
  • "At the end of her wanderings, which are simply but beautifully related, Ms Campbell returns to her few belongings in storage in London. Nothing much remains; treasures have broken; all is in flux, like the heaving, disappearing icebergs she has left behind, with their fragile cargo of human remains.' Anonymous, reviewed with Christopher Pinney's The Waterless Sea in The Economist
  • "An intellectual omnivore..." Barbara Kiser in Nature
  • "Campbell’s book puts a personal slant on the conservation of texts and languages, on the importance of saving both centuries of human endeavor and the landscapes that inspired them." Anna Souter in Hyperallergic
  • "In this journey, she has joined the dots between nations who don’t always recognise their primary interdependence." Sally Moss in ClimateCultures
  • "an essential read for anyone interested in the mutable, multi-faceted qualities of ice". Dani Redd in The Island Review

Monday, 29 October 2018

The Library of Ice

The Library of Ice is published on 1 November. I'm delighted to be able to share its first review already (many thanks to Arabella Currie writing for Oxford Writers' House).

If you'd like to join me to celebrate ice and its many voices, look out for events happening around the country in November and December. 

You can purchase a copy of The Library of Ice online, or find it at your local independent bookshop.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Advance copies of 'The Library of Ice"

Book bloggers, book reviewers and journalists are invited to request their advance copies of The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate via NetGalley. Available now!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Poetry on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

With Canal & River Trust staff and volunteers in Wigan

In July I spent a week travelling along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal - the UK's longest - by kayak, meeting people who live and work on the canal and gathering material for poems for the Canal Laureate project. Huge thanks to The Poetry Society, the Canal & River Trust, and the many individuals I met on the towpath for helping to make this journey possible, and a special shout out to CRT Writer in Residence Jasper Winn and Desmond Family Canoe Trail paddler Greg Brookes who kept me company for a day of paddling, including the passage through the mile-long Foulridge Tunnel.

You can read more about the practical aspects of the journey over at the British Canoeing blog, and a full report is coming soon at Waterlines.

With SLYNCS volunteers outside Blackburn

Monday, 6 August 2018

Back to Nature? at Salon Berlin

I'm delighted to be returning to Germany next week to continue the summer's discussions on the theme of art in the anthropocene with an event at the Salon Berlin of the Museum Frieder Burda in partnership with the British Council. There'll be readings, a workshop, discussions with artists featured in the Back to Nature? exhibition - and pizza in the Clärchens Ballhaus. Full details and booking information on the website.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Borrowed Bookshelves 20

My paddle along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal began with a meal aboard Morning Mist, moored in Rodley, before reading a few poems between the acts of Alarum Theatre's performance of Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways. Kate Saffin, one half of Alarum Theatre, kindly let me take a picture of her bookshelf -- full of books used while researching the Idle Women's story.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Borrowed Bookshelves 19

In celebration of this month's Tour de France 
here's the single bookshelf at the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op, Oxford,
pleasant to browse while waiting for a spare tyre lever.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Two anthologies

I'm delighted to have poems in two anthologies published by The Emma Press this summer: 

Some Cannot Be Caught: The Emma Press Book of Beasts, edited by Anja Konig and Liane Strauss and illustrated by Emma Wright (available here)

and In Transit: Poems of Travel, edited by Sarah Jackson and Tim Youngs (available here).

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Library of Ice - new publication

I'm delighted to announce that The Library of Ice, a memoir of my seven-year adventure in search of the world's disappearing ice, will be published this autumn by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster - and copies are now available to pre-order. Thank you to everyone who has accompanied me on these journeys, both in the Arctic and back home, especially those who assisted with my research over the last year. If you'd like to be kept informed about the launch event in November 2018, please email me:

Sunday, 13 May 2018


Phoenix rising from the canal, Oxfordshire

Since the beginning of the year I've been working on several Canal Laureate projects with The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust, and contributing a monthly blog to Waterlines.

One of the latest projects to reach completion is a new filmpoem, The Cut, created in collaboration with the Canadian artist Pierre Tremblay. The Cut was screened daily as part of Barge Fiodra's residency on the Regent's Canal at King's Cross, London, during April (in a double bill with vintage short film The Barge Fellows). The filmpoem can now be viewed here.

I'm looking forward to working with the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Macclesfield Canal over the summer, and presenting new poems at watery events in York and Bedford -- keep an eye on the Canal Laureate Twitter feed or website for updates.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Union Canal, Scotland

The Scottish waterways are not officially part of the Canal Laureate's ambit, but since I was in Edinburgh this week I decided to spend a morning exploring the Union Canal, starting at Meggetland Bridge and heading for the city.

  Rowers from St Andrews Boat Club were out early, as were the dog-walkers.

The canal opened in 1822 to carry coal from the west of Scotland to Edinburgh. 
(You can find more history on the Scottish Canals website). 
Beyond the new suburbs that grew up beside it, above, and barely visible through the winter trees 
is the former Craiglockhart Hospital where Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were treated for shell shock during World War I. 

I spotted a lone cat.

Then the rowers returned...

...and the commuters started to race by.

Approaching Viewforth Bridge - ready for a coffee now.


Old and new Edinburgh: a boarded-up chapel and narrowboats at Leamington Wharf.

Rivets and fresh paint at the Leamington Lift Bridge near Lochrin Basin.

Arrival in Prague/Lower Gilmore Place.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Friday, 6 April 2018

Upcoming Event: BALTIC Self-Publishing Artists Market

Come to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead on Saturday 21 April for the BALTIC Self-Publishing Artists' Market. I'll be exhibiting my work alongside over fifty other international artists, small press publishers, printmakers and zine makers. 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Upcoming event: Barge Fiodra

This photo (taken by Canal & River Trust Writer in Residence Jasper Winn) shows me and Pierre Tremblay during our epic cycle journey along the Regent's Canal last month. The excursion was the start of a collaboration which has led to a new filmpoem about the Regent's Canal.

The fillmpoem, The Cut, will be premiered as part of Barge Fiodra's March festival. On 15 March you can join me onboard Fiodra for a short screening, followed by readings of canal poems written since I was appointed Canal Laureate in January. Although small, the venue is supplied with a comprehensive bar and there'll be opportunity for convivial discussion and mingling post-event.

You can see an introduction to Pierre Tremblay's work and catch up on my first month as Canal Laureate on the Waterlines blog.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Poetry Book Society Winter Bulletin

It's still winter - just! And before spring floods in I wanted to take this chance to thank the Poetry Book Society for using my work on the cover of their beautifully redesigned bulletin. The image of icebergs from my 2015 Ilulissat series also features on a poetry postcard alongside 'The Widow and Kaleidoscope' from Sasha Dugdale's new collection Joy, which is the Poetry Book Society Winter Choice.

Find out more about the work of the Poetry Book Society here

or read an extract from the title poem of Joy 
which won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2016

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Objects for the Anthopocene

Last week ClimateCultures invited me to contribute an essay on three objects which might represent my personal timeline of the Anthropocene. You can read my watery selection here.

And for those curious for more on kayaks, over on the Waterlines blog you can read my first Canal Laureate poem.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Canal Laureate 2018

I'm delighted to be appointed Canal Laureate for 2018 by the Canal & River Trust and The Poetry Society, following in the slipstream of writers Luke Kennard (Canal Laureate 2016-17) and Jo Bell (Canal Laureate 2013-15).

Over the coming months I will travel the 2,000 and more miles of waterways looked after by the Canal & River Trust -- wherever possible, in my kayak. I will seek out and share stories from the rich history of the waterways, and champion the importance of these 'green corridors' for wildlife. As well as poems featuring people who live and work on the waterways, I will create new collaborative works with other water-loving artists and writers.

My first canal poem, 'Safety Briefing' can be read on the Waterlines website, and subsequent poems will be posted there over the coming months. You can also follow the project on Twitter @CanalPoetry

More details in the announcement from The Poetry Society.