Death Is an Anxious Mother


64 pages
ISBN 0-920633-080





Reviewed by Michael O. Nowlan

Michael O. Nowlan was a teacher and writer in Oromocto, New Brunswick.


Death is an Anxious Mother isAnne Campbell’s second book of poetry, and it more than lives up to the predictions of No Memory of a Move (1983). Currently head of public relations for the Regina Public Library, this Saskatchewan native has worked with several cultural and arts organizations. In her poems, Anne Campbell reveals a very deep concern for the relationships between male and female of the human species. She says, “geese mate and stay forever,” but too easily “couples come / undone.” There is too much passing and too little permanence in human relations. In “Old Fashioned Body” the body from one-night affairs “is wounded / and it grieves.” This, and other sensitive reflections about contemporary society are the focal point of this poet’s utterance.

Campbell also dwells on images of “horizon” and the sense of searching beyond the immediate or the known. She depicts life as a constant series of discoveries through “stepping stones” or “stone detours.” Her economy of language and her clever use of metaphor, coupled with an unusual line formation, makes hers a distinctive verse form. Death is an Anxious Mother isa winner.

It is encouraging to see the results of opportunities for publication provided by presses like Thistledown. Without the small presses, fine poets like Anne Campbell would go unpublished, which would rob our literature of new and dynamic contributions.


Campbell, Anne, “Death Is an Anxious Mother,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,