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Voices and Verses

National Poetry Month: “Torrey Pines Beach” by Vanessa Zimmer-Powell

The Houston poet reads a poem inspired by nature and the passage of time.


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Robin Carlson
“For my fourth birthday, my grandmother gave me a book of poems, and I would just pore over this book … I just absolutely loved it … and I still have that little book.” – Vanessa Zimmer-Powell

In this sound portrait, Vanessa Zimmer-Powell talks about her earliest poetry memory and winning the Rick Steves Haiku Contest, and she reads her poem, "Torrey Pines Beach."

A poet and speech-language pathologist, Vanessa Zimmer-Powell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and a Master's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin. She has published over 40 poems in various journals and anthologies, including Ekphrasis, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and San Pedro River Review. She was the winner of the 2016 Houston Poetry Fest Ekphrastic Competition and a 2013 Rick Steves Haiku Award. Her chapbook, Woman Looks into an Eye, will be published by Dancing Girl Press in the summer of 2017.


Torrey Pines Beach

If you ask me the shape of sea,
I answer with the curve
of wind that touches
saffron twists of seaweed,
the white shift of wave
that tumbles into aqua,
sculpts caves on shore,
and smoothens rock
into sand,
pieces of what the sea broke down
in its sweet salty song.

I fold into the roll of this decay.
Everything, everything
is pulled in and erased by the sea.


This poem was originally published in The Avocet (Summer 2015) and is reprinted with permission by the author.

To learn more about this series, go here.

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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