Second collection from widely acclaimed poet. Judy Kendall. ‘Wa.Harmony’ from Joy Change was selected for the Forward anthology of best poems 2010. This is not a book of poems ‘about’ Japan. It is rather a book of poems of, inside, from Japan by an author deeply embedded in and engaged...
Joy Change is a fascinating study in how to be outside — in this case, outside the dauntingly ‘complete’ society of Japanese manners and language. Part of the collection’s poignancy stems from its realisation that, in a more fundamental sense, this is how we are all placed in relation to the social and perceptual strictures that govern us.
As the book deepens its engagement with Japan we begin to catch glimpses of and insights into that constrained, compressed, astonishingly beautiful world. Judy Kendall is attempting to assay, as one poem has it, nothing less than ‘the weight of things,’ and the result is vivid, intense work, tightly sounded, with a musical precision to its naming and a painterly grasp of concise description. - W.N. Herbert
An acute observer of nuance and detail, Judy Kendall draws the reader into her own encounter with—her imaginative immersion in—Japan. Never a tourist, she uses her outsider status to heighten our awareness of delicious difference, an experience so rich you might almost not notice the range of poetic skills involved, from historical sweep to the precise haiku moment, from experimental language play to humour and the tactfully-notated ‘tremor in the heart’. - Philip Gross