Lunar Tides by Shannon Webb-Campbell

Expansive and enveloping, Shannon Webb-Campbell’s collection Lunar Tides asks, “Who am I in relation to the moon?” Which, in turn, poses a very meta question: who are we in relation to the natural world? As Jane Austen would say, “What are men compared to rocks and mountains?”

These poems explore the connections between love, grief, water and the moon. The collection is structured like the lunar calendar, into moon phases, like the cycles of life, or the stages of grief.

“What phase was the moon when she left? / How high or low were the tides?” This short couplet begins the collection and likens the phases of the moon to the phases of life, asking who are we when we pass? Will our goblet be full or empty?

Lunar Tides follows the rhythms of the body, the tides, the moon, and long, deep familial relationships that are both personal and ancestral. Originating from Webb-Campbell’s deep grief of losing her mother, Lunar Tides charts the arc to finding her again in the waves. 

Earth energy shoots through your body

you inner garden hydrates

vines grow stronger to your mother

Bloodstone New Moon

The poem Bloodstone New Moon associates breathwork with healing energy. Breathing is used as a way to connect with a higher power, and, in this case, with her mother. Though the physical channels are different, we may still connect to the ones who have passed, as Webb-Campbell suggests. 

The poems in Lunar Tides seek to define grief, and ultimately find a path toward healing. We, all of us, have two mothers: Our human mothers, as well as our Mother Earth. To understand that connection is to understand ourselves.


Shannon Webb-Campbell is a mixed Indigenous (Mi’kmaq) settler

poet, writer, and critic. She is the author of Still No Word (2015), recipient

of Eagle Canada’s Out in Print Award, and I Am A Body of Land (2019;

finalist for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry). Shannon holds an MFA in

Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and a MA

in English Literature at Memorial University of Newfoundland and

Labrador, and is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick

in the Department of English. She is the editor of Visual Arts News

Magazine. Shannon is a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and

lives in Kijpuktuk/Halifax in Mi’kma’ki.

Thank you to Book*hug Press for sending me a free Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this title. All opinions are my own.

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