Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Campanella Writes Poetry of Courage

Formerly a magazine and newspaper editor, Ann Campanella turned to creative writing to nourish her soul. Her efforts were rewarded by the North Carolina Poetry Society with the Poet Laureate Award twice and by the North Carolina Writers’ Network with her selection for the Blumenthal Readers & Writers Series. Her poetry collection, What Flies Away, published by Main Street Rag, received second place in the 2007 Oscar Arnold Young Competition for the best book of poetry in North Carolina.
Last year, after her mother’s ten-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, she collaborated with Terri Wolfe and Louise Rockwell in the publishing and presentation of Riding Out: Poems of Grief and Redemption. This spring, her chapbook, Young & Ripe, was published. This collection draws from Campanella’s experience as the youngest child in a military family, her college years and early marriage and focuses on the mistakes, passions and vulnerability of youth.
Campanella’s writing has appeared in local and national publications and anthologies such as Chelsea, Crucible, Earth and Soul, Iris, Kakalak, Main Street Rag, Pembroke, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry and the bestselling A Cup of Comfort series.
She has a degree in English Literature from Davidson College and lives on a small horse farm with her husband and daughter. On August 11, Campanella will read from her work as part of the Poetry Hickory Reading Series. The reading will begin at 6:30 at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory.
The poem below is from Young & Ripe and was first published in Bay Leaves, the annual awards anthology of the Poetry Council of NC.
The Point of Impact

After the move to Panama, we sought refuge
from black army ants and poisonous frogs,
huge mosquito trucks that sprayed a tent
of lethal fog around the housing.

Under a violet sky, you took up beer and dope,
sat under the umbrella palms with a hand
on the thigh of your army brat girlfriend.
I hated how she came between us.

She was the one caught with you in the first storm
of the season. It became a legend on the base,
the way the rain fell like rocks
on the hood of the Mach I as it skidded,

then flipped off the edge of the bridge.
Your seat-belted bodies swung upside down
like two bats in the drainage ditch.
A year later, she left you

after your best friend leapt
from the center of that same bridge.
His body compressed at the point of impact
as if it never had space for a heart.

You pushed me away. I wanted to comfort you
the way your hand-me-down clothes had comforted me.
I tried to follow as you hacked paths in the sawgrass
with your machete, wretched among the papaya.

Back in the States, as adults, you tell me
she left him for you, (the way you left me for her).
I say, “It’s not your fault.” We talk about the iguanas
that crawled through our back yard,

the metallic frog sounds that made us shiver
in the dense air, and how every morning
we’d step wide on the road
to avoid their flattened bodies.


  1. It was great to hear Anne read! :)

  2. Thanks, Scott! You make me look good.
    It was a special experience to get to read for you in Hickory. And as you can see by the "anonymous" I'm way less proficient at blogs than you are. Actually, the fact that you have a blog puts you in the category of "someone to be admired for their computer savvy."