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New and Selected Poems
Annie Finch

Wesleyan Poetry Series

Wesleyan University Press
2013 • 236 pp. 2 illus. 6 x 9"

$30.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7269-1

$23.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7363-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Finch’s ambition and optimism about that re-emerging matriarchal culture is everywhere evident in this collection; there is a strong sense of female identity in these poems, as well as an evidently committed engagement with the work of other women writers visible in her translations from the work of Anna Akhmatova and the French Renaissance poet Louise Labé. Finch has comprehensively raided the myth kitty, re-examining female roles in classical myth or the Judeo-Christian myth of origins… In evidence throughout this volume is Finch’s passionate involvement with the nuts and bolts of poetic craft, her abiding fascination with the variety of poetic form and metre. This forms a pleasingly intuitive harmony with the mythological interests detailed above. The rigours of metre, of patterned speech, connect, Finch seems to be implying, to something ancient in the human psyche; as she puts it, ‘patterned language that invites readers to experience words not just in the mind but in the body.’ … Spells bears witness to a considerable body of work and an impressive commitment to the traditions of poetry across a poetic career that pans four decades.”
Caitriona O’Reilly, Poetry Salzburg Review

A spellbinding collection from one of America’s most original and magical poets

Annie Finch’s Spells brings together her most memorable and striking poems written over forty years. Finch’s uniquely mysterious voice moves through the book, revealing insights on the classic themes of love, spirituality, death, nature, and the patterns of time. A feminist and pagan, Finch writes poems as “spells” that bring readers to experience words not just in the mind, but in the body. Celebrated for her extraordinary love and knowledge of poetic craft, over the course of her career Finch has shaped her own innovative and radically traditional aesthetic. Her strange but familiar metrical language decenters the Self, creating a new, more open emotional relationship between ourselves, other people, and the world. Spells displays Finch’s virtuosity in a broad range of genres and forms, from lyrics, chants, and narrative poems to performance pieces, poetic drama, and verse translation. The book also includes a number of new and previously unpublished poems, notably her 1980s-era “Lost Poems,” experimental work in meter that prefigures postmodern reclamations of poetic form. This wonderfully talented poet gives voice to the female and earth-centered spirituality of our era. Her emotionally eloquent and rhetorically powerful work will echo in the reader’s ear long after the book is closed. Check for the online reader’s companion at

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“Annie Finch has devoted her career to opening up the poetry world to a greater diversity of formal traditions, and Spells is a high-spirited and expansive selection of her finest work in many of these forms.”
Debra Bruce, Fifth Wednesday


“An exuberant exposition of Annie Finch’s accomplishment as a poet of craft, humor, myth, intimacy and of the natural world.”—Marilyn Hacker, chancellor, Academy of American Poets

“Annie Finch understands better than any contemporary I know what poetry feels like and sounds like when it is completely at home in its traditions. . . . She is a major poet, one of very few who understand how lyric lives in part because it can speak for something larger than the ego.”—Charles Altieri, University of California, Berkeley

From the Book:

Summer Solstice Chant
June 21

The sun, rich and open,
stretches and pours on the bloom of our work.

In the center of the new flowers,
a darker wing of flower

points you like a fire.

Point your fire like a flower.

ANNIE FINCH is a professor of English and director of the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of five books of poetry, including Calendars.

National Endowment for the Arts
This project is supported in part by an award from the
National Endowment for the Arts

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:01:50 -0500