Sunday 13 June 2021

Review by Vic Pickup of "White Eye of the Needle" by Chris Campbell

White Eye of the Needle is a self-proclaimed book of poems about ‘love, life and lockdown.’ Partly written whilst honeymooning in Madagascar, the romantic elements of this collection really wooed me. 

Chris Campbell opens with observations of his wife as she poses in ‘Yellow Dress.’ Lines such as ‘Curves soft as lemon’ and ‘I sweat, still, burning this to memory’ are full of longing, intended to be savoured. 

This worship poetry is continued in ‘You Shine’ (the clue was in the title!):

           Sparkling in our holiday nest.
           Fan fluttering in your hand, breeze lifting hair

           Held back by fingertips. We kiss and rest
           Basking in Milan’s glittering glare.

Mrs Campbell must be glowing as the muse of these gorgeous moments, beautifully captured.

The poet bestows the same adoration on a simple tapas dish in ‘Yellow Dress’: ‘Olives sunbathe in their oil, / Swelter side by side.’ This image entices the reader, activating the senses as the sun paints this holiday world with a glossy varnish. 

That said, the poet’s descriptions of Nottingham are romanticised too, in ‘Synchronised buskers.’ This poem shows love for a city in lockdown, appreciating the many aspects of its character which he has come to miss.

          Ambulances like Ubers—we’re in safe hands;
          As traffic breaks, sunshine reveals the beauty of the canal.

There’s plenty to love in this beautifully presented pamphlet, enhanced by illustrator Sandra Evans, whose drawings are idyllic and precise. As the poet writes in the aptly-named poem ‘Illustration,’ each of her works is an image ‘to savour / like dessert.’

This memoir of a sacred time is true to its cover—uplifting, full of lovely images and sunshine.


By Sandra Evans

About the reviewer
Vic Pickup is a previous winner of the Café Writers and Cupid’s Arrow Competitions, and shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruth prize on YouTube. Lost & Found is Vic’s debut pamphlet, published by Hedgehog Poetry Press and featuring Pushcart-nominated poem ‘Social Distancing.’ @vicpickup /

You can read a review of Lost & Found on Everybody's Reviewing here.

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