The Beach Poems \ Ann Campanella


Out of stock


poems by

Ann Campanella

ISBN: 9781-59948-642-0, 56 pages, $12

Release Date: November 7, 2017


ACampanella_bookstoreFormerly a magazine and newspaper journalist, Ann Campanella authored the award-winning memoir, Motherhood: Lost and Found. Her writing has appeared in literary journals, newspapers and magazines across the country. Ann’s poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, and twice she has received the Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society. She has a degree in English Literature from Davidson College and lives on a small horse farm in North Carolina with her family and animals.

Reading Ann Campanella’s The Beach Poems is like pressing a conch shell to one’s ear and listening to the sound of waves. Whether “simply/lying side by side on towels/sharing the sea,” exploring the lonely landscape of grief and loss, or reveling in the healing power of “a scatter of shells at mid-tide” and the “tiny chirrup of a seabird,” we find ourselves, in the end, “salt-streaked,/holding tight to our buckets/of treasure,” which will forever include this tender, multilayered, and deeply moving collection. —Terri Kirby Erickson, author of Becoming the Blue Heron


The Beach Poems by Ann Campanella is not only a beautiful book, it is a redemptive book, centering on the mysterious spiritual power of the sea itself leading the soul to find itself again after a long period dominated by duty and restraint. In addition to the sea, two wonderful figures—the ever present, nurturing mother and the imaginative, dancing, miraculous daughter—dominate the book, their presence reminding us that in the midst of tragedy, life renews itself daily through things as simple as a walk on the shore, the picking up of a shell, the rhythm of the retreating waves, the opening of the heart. —Anthony Abbott, author of The Angel Dialogues


I love how Ann Campanella, in her wonderful new book of poems, The Beach Poems, locates not only herself, but all of us, “at the edge / of the earth / face down,” supplicant to the whim of locus, beneath a “blue belt of sky.” In beautiful, dire language, she conjures a beckoning sea that is the vessel of her sojourn on earth, a vast ever-shifting crucible of memory. At the very heart of these poems is the speaker’s mother, who is also the Mother of the Muse, wellspring, archetype, mythologized in one lyric, elegiac vision after another, tethering the speaker in the relentless tide of memory – what it replenishes, what it spirits off. These are soulful, contemplative poems about discovering – often at great cost – peace and purchase, “a seam of light on the horizon.” —Joseph Bathanti, NC Poet Laureate, 2012-14

I am here


at the edge
of the earth
face down
on a mat of sand
wind cups the curves
of my body, waves
a constant roar
in my ears
blue belt of sky
presses against the horizon
I think of my mother—
all that was and never will be—
cry out into the void
but wind and sand and sea
my mother is here
and not here
and always will be
I hug the earth.


 My Mother’s Lake


Screen door slams
and she emerges
from the stone cottage,
drying hands on a towel,
face opening like a blossom.

Behind her, the hill slopes
to the lake, water endlessly
lapping the rocks, nudging
the boards of the decrepit

Her canoe and rowboat
are overturned on the shore,
a faded yellow motorboat
bobs on the waves, lassoed
to the dock.

Years ago, she sailed
the bay—wind lifting
her auburn hair
from her face, clear eyes
raised to the hills.

I will always see her here—
rocking on the old stone porch,
hands folded, lips parted,
head tilted to the trilling
of a wren

or walking through the woods,
pausing to examine the moss-covered
rocks or share a story
about arrowheads found
in shallow pools

or making her way
to the family graveyard,
where crooked stones
lean and settle among
the pine needles.

Stepping down the cobbled path,
I pass the old houses, cast my gaze
across the clearing to the blue finger
of bay, the row of pines
scraping the clouds,

the crescent of beach
where she always inched
into the cool, clear water
and ever so slowly


 Motherhood is an island


where the sand is like diamonds,
water ever changing
from seagreen to iron blue.
Each morning the sun floats
toward heaven, its pink face
paling as day wears on.
Salt breezes sting your
cheek as you scan the horizon
for what is to come.
Warm sand makes your toes
curl and castles you build
melt like candles as the brine
surges and retreats.
Afternoon rain falls
like splinters and the sky
cries out. There is nothing
you can do but hold tight
to the palms, find shelter
under their fronds.
Clouds part and water drips
like tears from the leaves
and the sky is blue again—
a color deep enough
to drown in.
At dusk, when day is old,
you build a bonfire
and watch the reflection
of flame dance across
a darkening ocean.
You’ve never seen such light!
You’ve never seen such beauty!
All the while, waves lap
the shore like a lullaby,
stars make the night sparkle
and the moon is a boat
that carries you away.

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