‘Milk Teeth’ - hailed as “an important debut from one of Ireland’s finest young poets’ - may be seen by some as a bit of a departure for Julieann Campbell.
With a background in journalism - she worked as a reporter with the ‘Derry Journal’ for ten years - the Galliagh woman is no stranger to writing.
However, it’ll surprise some people to know that the mum-of-one has been writing poetry for years.
As she says herself, “it was always something I did for myself. It was another way to express myself when I was growing up.”
“Although I have had a few dozen poems published in various small books and magazines over the years, it was always an ambition to publish a collection some day. So, this really is a huge deal for me.”
‘Milk Teeth’ - which was launched last night at Derry’s Central Library - is described as a “celebration of all that is new and much that is old.”
In the collection, Julieann sees the world afresh through the eyes of her young child while harkening back to her childhood “trapped in videotape.”
Julieann says the book - published by Guildhall Press - is unlike anything she’s done in the past.
“Simply because poetry is so personal,” she says. “I’m more used to writing about other people - and for other people - so it feels strange to put my own thoughts and feelings out into the wider world.
“I am nervous about how the work will be received but really excited, too.”
The inspiration for the poems, she says, comes from everyday life.
“The people you meet, the places you go, feelings, hopes, regrets, love – all the usual! A few poems in the collection date back to when I was in my twenties, so it’s interesting for me, as a writer, to see that development and how my writing has evolved over the years. I hope that other people will appreciate that, too.
“There’s a lot about family and about my daddy, in particular, because I found that poetry was one of the few ways I could express my absolute grief after he died.”
Julieann adds: “Sometimes I do write about important things - when something particularly incenses me or gets me fired up - but, mostly, it’s the smaller things that happen to you and around you, the quieter moments, that find their way into poetry.
“People are always the biggest inspiration, which can be good and bad! I’ve found myself in trouble many times over the years because of the contents of poems.”
Julieann says ‘Mlik Teeth’ includes quite a few poems inspired by becoming a mum and “getting to grips with all the madness of a new baby. I guess that’s where the title stems from.
“I also wanted to create a collection that my wee daughter could be proud of someday. Hopefully, I’ve achieved that and I’ll not have embarrassed her too much.”
Julieann also paid tribute to both Guildhall Press and the Derry Writers’ Group for their support and encouragement.
“They have always shown great faith in me and my abilities, which is a massive confidence boost, especially when it came to airing my poetry in public.”
‘Milk Teeth’, by Julieann Campbell, is published by Guildhall Press and is priced £7.95.