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Belle Point Press

Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility

Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility

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Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility, by Anna Laura Reeve

The poems in Anna Laura Reeve's debut collection, Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility, are wide-ranging in subject—postpartum depression, ecopoetics, creative manifestoes—yet all are rooted in the Southern Appalachia sprawl that she has made her home. Seeing motherhood as a primal rite of passage that need not be a single destination, the speaker of these poems taps into universal questions of identity and myth-making, allowing metaphors to work their magic as the rituals of caring for our land, our loved ones, and our bodies combine in startling ways. She transcends expectations by discovering a third way for the mother-artist that embraces her parenthood and her art as equally vital to a life well lived. As a result, Reeve's poems evoke a raw sensibility unafraid of the wildness inherent in the struggles of home, family, and an environment just as vulnerable—and resilient—to change as she discovers herself to be.

Anna Laura Reeve is a poet born and raised in East Tennessee. Winner of the 2022 Adrienne Rich Award, her work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal,, ROOM, Still, and others. She has an MA in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Finalist for the Weatherford Award

Praise for Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility:

"Though the opening 'Ars Poetica' promises to be a 'Domestic poem. No hunts, / no kills,' the landscape of Anna Laura Reeve's stunning first book is anything but tranquil. Wild-eyed with the electric exhaustion of new motherhood, this speaker is an able guide through both the erratic interior terrain of life with a 'lion-tamer' of a newborn and the wilderness of southern Appalachia. Through the 'shipwreck' of birth and the 'exile' of early motherhood, these poems grapple with the impossibility and the necessity of being both mother and artist."

—Nancy Reddy, Author of Pocket Universe

“'The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale' brilliantly uses its device of psychology-evaluation questionnaire and the responses' contrasting (and changing) diction to bring readers into its interior and exterior landscape with vividness, exactitude, surety, and the discoveries of language's own imaginative powers. Surface objectivity and calmness become increasingly transparent to what is described: the lived experience, feelings, thought, and condition of spirit of the mother of a premature newborn over time. From birthing room forward, this poem is entirely revelatory and harrowing."

—Jane Hirshfield, judge for the Adrienne Rich Award 

"Anna Laura Reeve's work sets the standard for honest, visceral songs about postpartum life and living fully in the female body. Every parent will recognize the strains and joys of being fully present for one's offspring. Reeve's observations about nature and birds will attract poets, ecologists, naturalists and readers of all ages, parents or not. The forms are diverse and permit no spillage, no emotional waste. This is a prize-worthy volume that stays personal as it opens us to the wider world we long to belong to and hope to preserve."

—Marilyn Kallet, author of Even When We Sleep and former Knoxville Poet Laureate


"Anna Laura Reeve has arrived, and her strength carries readers along as she explores the ever-evolving physical and emotional landscapes of family and motherhood. Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility is an artist’s notebook, letters to (and from) a young poet, and a manual on how to pursue the most meaningful questions about embracing one’s life, obstacles and all. These poems have a raw and musical radiance, a little bit Joni Mitchell and a little bit Johnny Paycheck. They display a crystalline brilliance with metaphor and analogy, picturing Tennessee Red Cob corn 'heavy as milk glass, alive as an animal.' Reeve shares a special attunement with the world of plants, both cultivated and wild, and with the carpenter bees, towhees, and brown thrashers that inhabit the air around us. She has created such a luminous and resonant collection of poems that I can hardly believe it is her first book. I welcome the new voice and vision of Reaching the Shore of the Sea of Fertility, already fully formed and soaring."

—Jesse Graves, author of Merciful Days and Said-Songs: Essays on Poetry and Place


 Review in Chapter 16

Review in Change Seven Magazine

Review in Mom Egg Literary

Review in Appalachia Bare

Interview in Beloit Poetry Journal

Interview in Speaking of Marvels


  • Publication Date: April 11, 2023
  • Trim size: 6x9 inches
  • 104 pages
  • ISBN: 979-8-9858965-8-9

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