Inside the Pearl

The cover shows an old fashioned open suitcase with children's clothes from the 1940s strewn about as well as books and a teddy bear. It is evocative of the things Joy Kogawa may have taken to internment camp in World War Two.

by Jude Neale
Guernica Editions, (Essential Poets series)
Available September 21, 2021


I first became aware of Joy Kogawa when I read Obasan. This was her account of internment in Canada, because she is a Canadian of Japanese heritage, in and beyond the Second World War.

The novel opened my eyes to injustice, betrayal, and loss. Impossible truths to a young, white, privileged woman.

Joy moved me to do better. To think critically and try in my own way to act out of love.

This book, Inside the Pearl, was created inside the space Joy loved, and the poems rose out of my propensity for intense scrutiny and rampant curiosity. I took hundreds of pictures and wrote close to sixty haiku inspired imagistic poems during my time there. I decided to document it, inside and out. I was an archaeologist of the half remembered. I pulled things out of drawers, looked in corners, even opened suitcases.

Opened suitcases! To my wonder and disbelief, I had unearthed the few things the family had taken to the Slocan. A precious blanket. Beloved doll dresses. Well worn books. A toy car. I was gifted with insight into the extraordinary times that Joy Kogawa lived. That picture became the backbone of this book which is why I chose it for my cover. It spoke of displacement and loss and endings.

I hope that both my written images and Paul Hooson’s photographs in this volume shine a light on the many small things that make a home. Notes scrawled, white curtains blowing in the breeze, or the comfort of a feather bed.

Inside the Pearl speaks of simple things and presents like snapshots, another time on the page.

My gratitude to Joy Kogawa for creating a bridge to truth for all peoples through her exceptional writing and quiet, gentle strength.

Jude Neale


Meet Jude at Coming Events

  • In September Jude is having a launch at both Guernica Editions launch and at Joy Kogawa House. She will read several poems from the book with photographs. launch. Dates & times TBA
  • Guernica launch on Zoom Sep 12 - 12:30 Pacific
  • Launch at Joy Kogawa House, Vancouver on September 19 at 4pm. Jude will read several poems from the book with photographs.
  • The Bowen Island launch for Inside the Pearl is on October 1, 2021, 7:30pm, at the Hearth Gallery.

  • Jude will be facilitating a workshop on Sunday, August 8: "Impromptu, Poetry Writing from 1-2pm on Bowen Island. Register
  • In the afternoon, Jude will be reading from A Blooming, Impromptu, The River Answers and The Flaw, from between 2:30 and 5pm on Bowen Island. She will be one of several Bowen writers performing at that time. More Info

Jude Reads Poetry