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Lives Brought to Life
Set against the historical backdrop of the Salem Witch Trials, Her Kind is a book about women who are innocent and are used and/or disregarded by the culture: women viewed as witches, women making their own choices, women fighting for freedom. The lyrical poems in this collection chronicle and skillfully braid together narratives of the female victims of the Salem Witch Trials with personal history/events and contemporary political circumstances. Ultimately, the book celebrates women refusing the victim role and reclaiming their magic.
(From I, Hecate)
I am witch—
that old crone at the cauldron
stirring willows, dark yew, blackthorn.
It took a torch, a key, a dagger
to cut away a past.
It took thirty years.
all three of me.
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Cindy Veach is the author of the poetry collection Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and a Massachusetts Center for the Book “Must Read,” and the chapbook Innocents (Nixes Mate), as well as coauthor, with J. D. Scrimgeour, of the script Imprisoned! 1692, produced by the Essex National Heritage Commission. Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, AGNI, Chicago Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, and Prairie Schooner among others. She is the recipient of the Salt Hill Journal’s Philip Booth Poetry Prize (selected by Mary Ruefle) and the New England Poetry Club’s Samuel Washington Allen Poetry Prize (selected by Marilyn Nelson).
Her Kind, with its nod to Sexton’s dark fairy tale of sisterhood, is an essential book of our age as women are once again endangered and marginalized, as we must equate silence with “trouble, // a brewing.” These powerful portraits and tragic stories remind us—not only do people take selfies where women were murdered and convert dungeons into tourist traps, but “Some things are not // meant to be forgotten,” and every woman, in order to survive, must conjure her strongest self. This is a stunning collection of poems.
—Jennifer Militello, author of The Pact
Rarely do I read a book all in one sitting then want to run out into the world yelling, “You’ve got to read these poems!” but such is the case with Cindy Veach’s newest collection, Her Kind. Grounded with poems about the Salem Witch Trials, it moves from historical to personal to political without missing a beat. Veach chronicles women’s histories—our losses, our silences, and ultimately, our strength in what we take back. Her Kind is a stunning collection of lyrical, powerful, and poignant poems, where we aren’t at the top of a hill looking down at what happened, but immersed in the stories and “We climb with her. We climb with her.” Her Kind is a book that reminds every woman to never let anyone take her magic—it’s an absolute must-read and an essential collection for every bookshelf.
—Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides
Her Kind, Cindy Veach’s powerful second collection, emphasizes why poetry is essential. Her impeccable ear, her reclaiming of the witch myths from the Salem Witch Trials, the end of her long marriage intertwined with this country’s fraught political landscape make us more aware of the world around us. She reconciles history while living it by using voices from the past to infuse the present. These gritty, lyrical poems continually enrich and surprise. Veach’s writing is transformative. How lucky we are to witness this book as it “shape-shifts, // becomes bells, fingers, spires, / becomes omen.”
—January Gill O’Neil, author of Rewilding
from Margaret Scott of Children Lost
Look at me—
a widow for so long
I’ve forgotten his face
but not the faces
of every child I lost.
They say I lost too many
and must hang
for this and sundry other Acts
At the Threshold
Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary Memorial
Slabs of worn stone, inscribed—
For my life now lies in your hands
Gray slabs that do not touch
On my dying day, I am no witch
Where their words slide under
If I would confess I should save my life
I do plead not guilty
Before the mute tombstones
God knows I am innocent
Where the tourists mill
I am wholly innocent of such wickedness
And pose for selfies
Oh Lord help me—
Pub date – October 5, 2021
Trade paper – 6 X 9″
Emerging Voices – Poetry
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