“If grace could be defined it’d be a very quiet phrase.”
Courtney Kampa, loving wife, beloved daughter and sister, passed peacefully in her sleep at her Nashville home on November 14th, 2022.
It will be impossible to recover from the loss of this uniquely talented, brilliant, funny, sensitive, independent styled beauty, whom God called home way too early.
Courtney grew up in a joyful home as the oldest of her four sisters. Rarely seen apart and known locally as the Kampa Girls, they were close in age and shared a love of ballet and musical theater, but most of all fun which they had often together.
A natural beauty, she was known for her grace, sarcasm, curious mind and sharp wit. She loved the ultra feminine, even from a young age. Toddling around in her Mother’s high heels when she could hardly walk, she would later pair this with a love of kimonos, head scarfs, bright colors and whimsical patterns. Her beauty was honest, something that just happened, and her style was truly all her own.
Courtney attended the University of Virginia where she met and fell in love with her future husband, Will Anderson. They dated later for three years and married in 2017. Throughout their marriage, they shared a love of simple things like Mexican food, word games, walks with their dogs, British crime dramas, visiting coffee shops and relaxing on the back porch talking, while their pups played in the backyard.
A 2016 Ruth Lilly finalist, she received her MFA from Columbia University and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 2017-2019. Courtney Kampa’s first book, Our Lady of Not Asking Why, was selected by National Book Award winner Mary Szybist for New Issues Press. Her work received awards and distinctions from Best New Poets, Poets & Writers Magazine, The Atlantic, RATTLE, North American Review, and more.
She loved teaching writing and loved her students. She was a professor of undergraduate writing at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Lipscomb University and Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She also held private workshops with post-grads who were interested in writing poetry. She worked with many of her students for years, and showed a fierce loyalty to helping them discover their own voice and writing style.
She could be found working on her own writing whilst surrounded by ceiling high piles of books, a pencil nested in her hair, and notes written on her hands sitting amidst a garden of indoor plants.
She had a kind, sensitive heart with a deep love for people and animals. She served her two rescue dogs Eddie and Georgie “puppychinos” daily and always cuddled them while she worked or relaxed.
She had a particular love and care for children, thoughtfully sending her nieces and nephews books in the mail, and often spoke of wanting her own children some day.
Courtney made anyone who crossed her path feel loved. She was loving and gentle with everyone she met, whether making friends with someone in the checkout line or by helping her students that she taught feel inspired and confident.
No one can ever fill the gaping hole that is left by our beautiful, strong, graceful, brilliant, and loving Courtney.
“My stray blondes…stitching me to you, and you, holding out your hand…”