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The Hungry Ghost Festival

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The Hungry Ghost Festival concerns misremembered and strange things. It's about girls praying to The Angel of the North. It's about a mermaid born in the river Tyne. It's about Chinese lanterns, teenagers at the beach, and a family who run a sacred farm.

..You pick my arms up and spread them out
so we are matching. Our woollen scarves
touch our noses - catch our breath
Paperback, 32 pages
Published July 16th 2012 by The Rialto (first published July 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  180 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm no poetry expert. I write it now and again when the fancy takes me but more often than not I feel like a fraud because I don't GET it. Like there is something to get.

Jen's collection is one that I immediately felt I needed to re-read, because I know there is much more to decipher from these few but wonderful pages. I felt inspired just reading it, and some of the poems in this little collection made me feel quite melancholic - but only in the very best way.
Greg Giannakis
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
"For you, I signed a form to place my brain in a jar when I'm done with it. They will lift it from my skull and see you." ...more
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Hungry Ghost Festival is a poetry collection that was written by Jen Campbell and published in 2012. The title comes from a traditional Chinese festival in which on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month, the boundaries between the living and dead are broken down and the dead visit the earth. In the case of this collection, The Hungry Ghost Festival is about the past floating through the present consciousness.

Did I Like It?:
Yes, I really liked this collection! I liked the concept a
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea. I found that it relied too much on symbolism for my personal taste, and I therefore had a hard time getting much out of these poems. This is a personal issue though and if you like highly symbolic and metaphonrocal poetry this might be the collection for you.
Graham Sillars
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written collection of poetry! Mermaids, Angels and Cows treading on crockery covered tables. Gloriously visual, bittersweet and melancholic. Jen Campbell’s writing truly is a joyous thing to read. This collection, in my opinion, could be reread multiple times and the reader would take something different from the contents every single time! Thank you, Jen, for these beautiful words.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A brilliant and haunting debut pamphlet.

I've been watching Jen's YouTube channel for quite some time but this is the first of her books that I've picked up. Certainly looking forward to more.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this little book of poems! The poems weave the reader through an often strange landscape of childhood dreams, fear, sexual awakening, and self-awareness. My favorite poems: "Kitchen," "Memories of Your Sister in a Full Body Wet Suit," "Ullambana," and "Lobster Girl." ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic poetry collection that lingers between life and death. Mystical and ethereal and all too real.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am completely new to poetry and picked this up because I am a fan of Jen Campbell in general and really didn't know where to start.

As a form, I would recommend the poetry pamphlet to anyone who is starting out with poetry. I found its short length and cherry picked poems to be enganging, not too heavy and easy to pick up and put down when it suited me.

The Hungry Ghost Festival is Jen Campbell's debut poetry collection but to be honest, that meant nothing to me. Going into this as a complete
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Different to the sort of poetry I would usually pick for myself. In these poems I feel like the story behind them is half-hidden, so you can puzzle out the meaning yourself.

Get the sense that it's very personal - there's a lot of Jen in here!

Ended up reading through most of the poems a couple of times.

My absolute favourite is 'Ulambana' - it makes my chest go all tight when I read it.

Other favourites are 'Kitchen', 'Memories Of Your Sister In A Full Body Wetsuit' and 'Lobster Girl'.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creative, anthology
The writer talks about her childhood in this collection of poems. Beautifully written and very true to her personality (I had the pleasure of meeting her in person to be able to say that). The writing is rhapsodic but calm and language raw but strong. The perfect companion on a fall afternoon with hot piping tea.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This such a beautiful book, both inside and outside. It's only tiny, but it has this feel to it that I can't describe but I really love it. I think my two favourite poems are 'Memories of Your Sister in a Full Body Wet Suit' and 'Lobster Girl'—they just really stuck with me. ...more
Paul Hughes
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it

A childhood recalled in an atmosphere of magical realism. Jen Campbell uses big, roomy lines for her evocative imagery. A first collection of real distinction.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Absolutely adore this so much.
Mari Julieboe
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2016 added it
Shelves: poetry
I really like Campbell's way of writing. ...more
Sep 16, 2016 added it
Shelves: poetry, own
Beautiful writing.
I kept rereading certain parts.
But I just can't rate this collection.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
These are strong poems, wonderfully strange, with a wild rawness to them, like nothing I've read before. ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this very much.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Jen Campbell has a way with a line of poetry. She paints gorgeous, sometimes melancholy images with perfectly chosen words, sweeping readers up and taking them along for little journeys.
Britt / Basically Britt
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, 2017
3.5 stars

Really enjoyed this poetry collection! I particularly liked Kitchen, Lobster Girl, and What Happens When I Go Home :)
4.25 stars
My favorites were "When We Found The Tide" and "Lobster Girl".
Lily Tice
rated it liked it
Apr 02, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Apr 08, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2018
Colby vermeulen
rated it liked it
May 23, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 17, 2017
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​Jen Campbell is a bestselling author and award-winning poet. Her short story collection The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is published by Two Roads, her children's picture books, Franklin's Flying Bookshop, Franklin and Luna go to the Moon, and Franklin and Luna and the Book of Fairy Tales are published by Thames & Hudson. Her poetry collection The Girl Aquarium is published b ...more

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