Friday, December 24, 2010

A Poet's Carols: Songs for Yule

As a Yule gift to readers of American Witch, here is my personal collection of pagan-friendly carols. Some are traditional and unchanged. Some are the very best neopagan adaptations I could find by others— signed or anonymous—sometimes as stand-alone songs, and sometimes as second verses of the originals.  Some I have altered myself, keeping as many words of the original as possible, so they are familiar but can be sung with full gusto by those who want to encompass female as well as male-centered spirituality.  Except for the virtuoso "13 days of Solstice," which I couldn't resist including, I have tried all these out on my ever-skeptical daughter and they have passed her muster; we'll be singing them this afternoon with a group of friends and neighbors, and I may make a few adjustments after then as well.  In the spirit of the collective folk tradition in which all these songs partake to one degree or another, I offer them to you here.  You should be able to paste these into a document in this order, and they will make a little carolling booklet with 1 or 2 songs per 5" x 8" page. A copy shop can run it up for you. Happy Yule!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eclipse, Solstice, Yule, Blogaversary, Carols: Thoughts on Creativity and Recurrence

What a special, special Solstice night.  My daughter and I, in rooms at two ends of the house, were both awakened at around 2:40 AM (just as, it turns out, the eclipse was heading into its fullness) by what seems to have been an identical feeling:  a warm rush of happiness entering through the crowns of our heads.  I lay there for a while and felt the world, in every detail and in every commonality, united in a harmony of unity and love. Soon I went downstairs to look for the moon, which had been full and clear when I went to bed.  It was hidden by clouds, but I stayed there, mindful of astrologer Gretchen Lawlor's words in an email to me yesterday evening: " I've just realized it is important, at some time during this eclipse to stand up and feel the alignment, be part of the drama, another channel for the light. When you stand, the Earth and past it the Sun will be in alignment beneath your feet, and the Moon directly overhead, at your crown. Even if it's cloudy and we cannot see it."  I stood and felt the channel, exactly as she had described it.  

How different from last year's solstice celebration, described in the very first post on American Witch, which was also wonderful in a completely different way.  That was rousing, external and solar, this one, so far, peaceful, internal and lunar.  But each, incontrovertible.  I love how being a Wiccan gives me so much flexibility to find the Spirit how and why I need to find it.  This year we will also be partaking in many of the traditions of last year, but there is so much space for creativity every year as well. What will we be doing? Will I finish my own solstice carol? I know I will be posting here, soon, my new versions of Christmas carols, invented during a concert this weekend and suitable for Goddess-believers to sing along!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Solstice Call for Solstice Poems

So, this coming Solstice will be the first time in 456 years (or 307 years, depending on which calculations you are following) that there has been a lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice.  There has been much conjecture about the meaning of the connection; this article (thanks, Chas!) takes a common sense approach ("Wiccans don't think of things as being good or evil—they just are") and provides a pleasing interpretation, regarding the conjunction of female and male energies.  It's certainly looking to be a specially powerful solstice, and I'll be posting again on the season soon.  

Meanwhile, in honor of the occasion, I'm sending out a call to share Solstice poems.   If you have one or know of one, please post them in the Comments section.  Solstice songs would also be great.  

One of my aims with this blog is to up the quantity and quality of the canon of pagan/earth-spirited/goddess-inspired art, literature, and music.  So poems are always welcome at any point in the wheel of the year.

Happy Season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Thanksgiving Shadow

I confess:  for many years I have not found it easy, as a comfortably affluent European American, to feel the deep and thorough gratitude I would like to feel at Thanksgiving.  I've tried, but not very far down I keep hitting some kind of obstacle.  This year, I was provided with two powerful and apparently contradictory texts that may point a way out of the impasse.  The first is a wonderful and profoundly true editation that was handed out at a Thanksgiving yoga class I took this morning. It is worth reading slowly, with contemplation:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yes, Lisa, There is Poetry. . .Or, What Makes a Poem a Poem?

I received this email a few weeks ago.  I reproduce and answer it here with Lisa's permission, because it is representative of a widespread confusion:
Dear Annie Finch:
I discovered your February 2009 Harriet blog entry “Poetry in Notion: What Does That Word Mean Anyway?” while searching for a definition of poetry versus prose. I’ve hit up against that same question in my own “poetry” and am very much hoping you might give me your input. Did you ever arrive at a conclusion regarding where poetry begins and prose ends that you yourself found satisfying?
Some background: I think of myself a poet, yet twice in the past few weeks I’ve been told that what I write is prose with line breaks 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Medieval Wind Power

My husband Glen, an environmental activist who often sends me wonderful links, forwarded this story on wind power in a medieval Italian town.  I find this, and so many massive changes in energy technology that are currently underway, moving metaphorically, spiritually, and practically--embodied transformation, magick at work to bring us closer to living in harmonious respect and stewardship of the natural world.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wild Weeds Poetry Contest Results

The results of the Wild Weeds Poetry Contest have been posted on the Healing Wise Website.  The winner will receive a set of Susun Weed's Wise Woman Herbal Series, and those with honorable mentions will receive a copy of Healing Wise.  Weedy congatulations to all!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Samhain Journeys

Annie and Grandy on my 6th birthday, Samhain 1962

For my Halloween-Samhain-birthday gift to myself this year, I took a powerful healing journey under the guidance of two local shamans. Against a backdrop of achingly burnt-orange trees outside their huge picture windows, Evie and Allie accompanied me on a sure, swift, thorough swoop through my inner landscape to pick up lost pieces and resolve longstanding hurts.  It is wondrous work, full of metaphor and symbol that is truer than truth, poetry in capital M motion.  My first shamanic journeys, with Fred Tietjen in San Francisco in 1991, were a watershed experience in my growth as a Witch; they reunited me with my earliest nourished wholeness in the natural world. This week's journey reminded me, in turn,  of the connected fullness that shamanic work reveals as our core state.  And this time also put me in far deeper touch with another aspect of the experience, the knowledge of not being alone, of having all the helpers and guides I need to call on, whether spiritual, animal, or ancestor.

The ancestor guide I feel most strongly with me now is my grandmother, Marjorie Hughan Rockwell.  She's the "mother's mother" in my poem "Samhain."  Here she is, in the only photo I know of myself with her.  I'll be thinking of her a lot this Samhain, placing her picture on the ancestors' altar tonight and sending her a note via candle flame.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"50 Best Blogs for Wiccans" (Including American Witch)

A very useful list of 50 Best Blogs for Wiccans has been compiled by Marcia Colgar, and I'm happy to say that "American Witch" is included!~

Dead Poets at Cundy's Harbor

Today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day—the very first Dead Poets' Remembrance Day, in fact.  The holiday was started this year (and the date set for October 7, Edgar Allan Poe's death-day), by Walter Skold, a person of staunch mission and wide vision, founder of the Dead Poets Society, who has located and honored the graves of hundreds of poets.  Lately I have been thinking a lot about my own grave (more on that in a future post), and I resonate with Walter's emphasis on the importance of poets' graves.

So i was happy to be asked to participate in the kickoff celebration in Maine this year, which I did by reading a poem by Maine poet Celia Thaxter early this morning in a beautiful old meeting house in a town called Cundy's Harbor.

Afterwards, several of us stopped up the street at the graves of another Maine poet, Robert P. Tristram Coffin, winner of the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for poetry,  and his wife and daughter.  We read aloud the poems engraved on each stone and discussed poetry, life, and death as Walter's film team documented the occasion.   One among us, a fine lobsterman-poet who had not yet published his work, treated us to a recitation of a couple of his poems—the diction of one of which had been indelibly criticized, many decades ago when the poem was new, by Coffin's sister.

So the thread of poetry and meaning, the still-and-always-thriving oral tradition, the chain of verbal culture, so intimately tied, as this morning proved, with the chain of all human culture and the meaning we continually make, continues.  Or, as the president of the Harpswell Historical Society told me this morning, when I commented that the town must have a fascinating history: "every single town, wherever you go, every single one has a fascinating history."  And of course he's right.  And so does every poet.

For the lobsterman poet (whose name I, alas, didn't catch), Walter read aloud in a resonating voice the final words on Coffin's headstone, a powerful couplet along the lines of, "I kept the age-old law, I wrote what I saw," before driving off with the film crew in in his van, "Dedgar," to visit more graves.  Gravespeed to them, and I'll be looking forward to next year's Dead Poets Remembrance Day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Longen Folk: The Parade, the Pilgrimage, the Poem

"Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages"

This morning, the Maine Marathon was going by just up the street, and when I saw all the activity, the cars parked all up and down our normally rather quiet block and so many people rushing by with their kids and rattles to cheer the runners on, I felt compelled to join them.  I grabbed my favorite percussion instrument, a little hand-drum with a lizard painted on it and a great sound, and made my way up the street to where the local market was handing out cups of water and a trio of bearded Baby Boomers with electric guitars were belting out Beatles songs.

The runners, of all ages, genders, races, sizes, weights, heights, and physical conditions, in emotional states apparently ranging from triumph to desperation, were already straggling by in outfits ranging from lobster hats to high-tech runwear.  People around me were waiting for their friends, cheering, and then getting their kids and leaving.  My daughter had had no interest in coming, and I don't know a lot of runners; I recognized one (or maybe two, I'm still not sure).  But it didn't matter.  It seemed they could use some support, and I was finding the experience quite moving.  I stayed for quite a while, clutching my hand drum, and as each runner came by, I raised it up and honored them with a little tattoo.

A surprising number of them managed to look up from their sweat and breath to catch my eye, smile, or even say thank you. But even when they didn't respond, why was it so intensely satisfying?  It wasn't just the pleasure of helping out, or the novelty, or delight/amusement at the amazing variety of people, or the vicarious satisfaction of participating even so indirectly in the race.  It was really about the privilege of witnessing such an honest depiction of the human journey.

I used to feel confused by my love of parades; I thought of them as full of imperialistic pomp, as descendents of Roman victory triumphs, and yet they compelled me.  But today I was reminded that any procession can be as much a pilgrimage as a triumph: a group of people, each on an individual journey yet sharing so many challenges, each caught up in their own struggle with self-esteem, discipline, and goal-reaching, each needing something so different from others, and yet each somehow after the same goal.

As I cheered each person on, I realized that perhaps the work was not so different from teaching poetry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Very Special Equinox

Equinox, the time of most balance between day and night, light and dark, happens at 11:09 PM--the very moment I write this sentence tonight.  And the Harvest full moon, brightest of the year, comes at 5:17 tomorrow morning.  A very special conjunction, a time of powerful balance between, as my dear friend Deborah Knighton Tallerico puts it, Yin and Yang, Masculine and Feminine Energies, reminding us "of the importance of balance and harmony in our lives."

The Chinese have long known how to celebrate this amazing Harvest moon.  And according to this link about the Chinese mid-Autumn moon-festival (scroll down to the poets at the bottom) it was the poets who made the festival so popular.  That's a mission I can get into--writing poems to encourage an Autumn moonwatching tradition.

Happy equinox, everyone--and though, as Susun Weed points out, pure balance would not be a living condition, may you savor its brief visit!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mint Tea, Wine, & a Splash of Inspiration

Slowly I am absorbing Susun Weed's lesson that the plants around us in abundance are offering themselves for our use.  For example, after thinking of mint as "invasive" for years and trying to contain it through violent wastefulness, instead I took her advice and started to consume it frequently, matching the pace at which it offers itself.  It's easy to tear or cut off the tops to use the leaves, and the flowers that the bees love grow right back out of the shorter stems. Wonderful!  And what a great lesson and practice, to gather, in the proportion in which they are given, the other gifts of life, including poetic inspiration.

There's still time to enjoy my favorite new drink: sun mint tea  . . .  pick and tear up a handful of mint leaves and soak in a jar of water in the sun for a while (I put plastic wrap on top to keep the bees out).  Even a few leaves and an hour or two makes water taste magnificent, a drink at once sweet, simple, and sophisticated, loved by both kids and adults---like drinking the sun.

Which reminds me of a quote from Galileo, of all people, that someone told me today at a wonderful harvest feast, a grape harvesting and potluck extravaganza held at Maine Coast Vineyards, our friends' local winery:  "Wine is sunshine held together by water and alcohol." There was a lot of sunshine going around this wonderful harvest celebration, kids playing everywhere, generations mixing, work and relaxation--community grounded in food and the earth.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Swirls

Sometimes my care as a writer gets the best of me as a blogger. I have various posts in the works--one on "Solstice Weddings," since the way I celebrated the Solstice this year was by celebrating a couple of amazing unions.  One on my new Tarot deck (Druidcraft).  One on the amazingness of the garden.  One on Esbats.  And this one--the one that I'm not revising, so it is the one that will be posted.  This one is just to say that it's the height of the summer and I am in a swirl of happy projects before heading to a writing retreat.  Like my garden, I am bursting over.  The fertility and fecundity of life has often overwhelmed me, but this week I am just revelling in it.  I've discovered if I sit back and just let it run, it does!   Happy summer, everyone.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wild Weeds Poetry Contest

--I am excited to be judging the first Wild Weeds Poetry Contest in honor of Susun Weed's seven favorite weeds.  I am a serious fan of Susun's work.  My physical health and overall vibrancy in life has been vastly improved by drinking nettle and other infusions as she taught me. My sense of commitment and community as a poet has been charged and enhanced, and the name of this blog even partially inspired, by my completion of her Green Witch Intensive and initiation by her as a Green Witch two summers ago.  And my psyche is still slowly, silently, and I am sure unstoppably, being re-attuned and redirected by the hour my daughter and I spent talking with a small plant, one whose name we learned only later, during her Talking With Plants workshop. 

These experiences have nourished me as a person and also as a poet, strengthening my intuition, my sense of adventure, my capacity to zero in on the wordless core from which true words come, and my sense of how much one person really can help the world to heal.  I'm grateful to be involved in a contest that will help advance knowledge of Susun's necessary and timely work—and I'm looking forward to the poems I'll be reading over the next couple of months!  

If you are curious about my own poems and want to "know the judge" (to quote the game Apples to Apples), there are poems at my website.  Check out the Spiral!
Wild Weeds Poetry Contest Details:

--Information on the seven weeds here

--No minimum or maximum length; no entry fee

--Deadline Sept 1, 2010

--Please paste poem into the body of an email (not an attachment)

--Please put Wild Weeds Poetry Contest in subject header.

--Until the winner is announced, entries will be posted here at the Wisewomen Tradition blog--feel free to check out the competition!  The winning poem will be published on the Weed's Wisewomen website in September, and winner receives a free copy of one of Weed's books.  I'll be posting the winning poem and some honorable mentions here also, with some closing thoughts and comments.

Till then, keep it spiralling!


Violets: A Poem by Alice Dunbar-Nelson

In honor of the Susun Weed Poetry Contest, here is a poem by Alice Dunbar-Nelson in honor of one of Susun's seven favorite weeds:


by Alice Dunbar-Nelson

I had no thought of violets of late,
The wild, shy kind that spring beneath your feet
In wistful April days, when lovers mate
And wander through the fields in raptures sweet.
The thought of violets meant florists’ shops,
And bows and pins, and perfumed papers fine;
And garish lights, and mincing little fops
And cabarets and songs, and deadening wine.
So far from sweet real things my thoughts had strayed,
I had forgot wide fields, and clear brown streams;
The perfect loveliness that God has made.—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.
And now—unwittingly, you’ve made me dream
Of violets, and my soul’s forgotten dream.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Poetry as Art Criticism

 Who says poetry "makes nothing happen"?  My Bourgeois post inspired my cousin Charlie Finch, columnist for Artnet, to send me a couple of the poems he's published as a form of art criticism 
over the years:  for example, these on  Deborah Solomon and Elizabeth Peyton, or this on Louise Bourgeois. Even though we disagree entirely about Bourgeois' art,  he has here picked up, albeit mockingly, on her very true message that it is never too late to heal from childhood wounds.  This is one of the reasons I found Bourgeois' late work at the Whitney exhibit so moving--the pain of the child was so close to the surface, and it was clear from the rest of the exhibit how much work and time it had taken her to bring it out to that point.

It's exciting, and surprising, that someone not known for writing poetry would choose serious poetry (not only light verse, which is of course used more often for political and social commentary) as a vehicle for actually conveying ideas in this day and age,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Louise Bourgeois: An Unfinished Poem

(thanks to the great Lemon Hound blog for photo!)

A couple of years ago, I was on the way to New York and poet Lee Ann Brown happened to mention that she'd enjoyed the Louise Bourgeois Retrospective at the Whitney.  I had heard legends about Bourgeois' salon, and sculptor Judy Fox had been meaning to bring me over, but I hadn't made it there and didn't really know a lot about Bourgeois' work other than the Spiders. But I knew I had to go . .  .

And yes, that exhibit's spiralling journey through the restless curiosity, wild sensuality and heroic courage of her career really blew me away.  What a journey of texture, form, and heart, to the very end when the layers of expertise were peeled back and the raw pain of some of her formative experience revealed! What an inspiration to keep growing younger in heart and soul while older in mind and skill!

I felt compelled to pull out my notebook almost immediately, even during the early totem poles on the lower levels of the exhibit, and kept writing raptly as I climbed the ramps as slowly as possible, spiralling back over and over, notebook in hand, moved over and over to words.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Justice and Prejudice

This image of Justice and Prejudice comes from David Dismore's collection of Suffragist art.  The  fascinating account of how the Women's Suffrage movement used postcards and stamps  and finally got their message focused is instructive on every level.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Not Wearing Black

When I started my sartorial rebirth, well over half the clothes in my wardrobe were black.  I had been favoring black since at least age 14, when I padded around barefoot in my favorite black leotard and patched jeans, through college, where I swooped across campus in a long black wool cloak, to clubbing's black miniskirt, graduate school's black v-neck pullover, pregnancy's black cotton maternity dress, poetry readings' black portrait neckline, and so on for nearly forty years.  My mother told me she didn't think I should wear so much black; when I asked her why she could only say that it depressed her.  She said it for so many years that I never really heard her. A painting teacher said she didn't use black, but darkest purple or brown instead; she considered black a color that hurt spiritual energy.  I thought she was making an aesthetic mistake.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How could a poet not be happy with a windmill...

how could I not be happy with a story like this?  What I love about living right now is that the movement towards a lifestyle that is cleaner and more respectful and loving of the earth has such momentum--and on every step of this way, poetry becomes more real to me.

What could be realer than the metaphor of wind, the spirit of the air, the cleanser and communicator, powering a place of learning and wisdom?  What I love about living right now is that the metaphors provided by such events are clear, pure, open, giving right down to the bottom and beyond.  I don't feel a need for prevarication, ambiguity, or torturous paths to access their magic.  The metaphorical power of earth, air, fire, water--nature--and our place in it-- is directly accessible to me like a spring of good water.

I learned yesterday from WOM-PO that in the language of the Dagara people of Nigeria, the words for "Art" and "Sacred" are the same.  My guess is that a spirituality centered in the earth is exactly what makes this kind of unity possible.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Goddess Conference, the Middle School Concert, and the Coming Cosmic Convergence

 I am finally back from my many travels, catching up on things, and waiting for the photos of ASWM to come in so I can post one of the Brigid mask reading, which went beautifully. I've had so many ideas for American Witch these last extraordinarily busy few weeks that I feel as if I've been actually posting!  I will look forward to sharing them here in coming weeks.  There's one on fear, one on male support, and one on menopause, moon, and ritual.  More too, that I will probably unearth when I finish unpacking all the notes and papers.  And, I want to start a "blog reprise" series of posts, a few favorite posts on poetry from my first blog, "Confessions of a Postmodern Poetess," which is no longer available online. 
For those interested in the ASWM conference,  here's the most concise update:  a small celebratory note I sent to the ASWM website,  It's true--I've rarely if ever felt the goddess poems heard more profoundly.  No surprise there.  The event was vibrant with new

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ASWM Rising!

I am so excited. I have been invited to give an opening poetry reading on the first evening of the first Conference of the Association for Study of Women and Mythology, April 23. I will be reading with the great Diane Wolkstein, whose work on Inanna has been so influential on me, and I am very excited to hear her new work about Kuan Yin, a goddess who has increasingly been entering my life of late.

In honor of this performance, which I take as a charge to use the power of rhythm and poetry invoke the energies of the goddesses into the event, I am trying to figure out how to pack and bring a special secret mask, made by Stonecoast alum, the brilliant fantasy writer and all-around creative dynamo Michaela Roessner. . . tricky because I have to take a plane to read at the Los Angeles Festival of Books immediately following!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ostara Vibration

Wow, it's been a busy few weeks.  I've been travelling a lot for poetry events, gave the keynote poem for the launch of the Women's Poetry Timeline at the gorgeous National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC-and then spent a few days marching for peace with my mother on the eve of her 89th birthday...

But I got back in time for the annual Ostara egg hunt on the beach near our home.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thanks to the Illustrating Pirate

One of the jolting pleasures of being a publishing poet in the age of the Web is to stumble on a poem that has gone on adventures without my knowledge. The Niches section of my website collects links to poems I've come across on, among other places, a Spelunking site and a Wine-tasting site.

But recently I had an experience that topped all these—to find "Two Into Two" at a very special and mysterious website, accompanied by a remarkable choice of illustration that taught me more than I maybe even wanted to know about my own poem. I wrote the poem in an entirely different and luminously innocent context, or so I thought; but this illustration, insightfully it seems to me, brings out other aspects: power and patriarchy and disfigurement.

Oddly, these meanings also seem to have been added onto the text they originally illustrate.  The apparent source for the tale, "The Knave of Hearts" by Louise Sargent, is a tale of tarts far, far more innocuous than Parrish's illustration implies.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To Arouse Secrets: The Visceral Magic of Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg's exuberant, quiet, sloppy, painstaking, organic, sensual, spiritual Combines entered my life during my now-somewhat-infamous days living in the East Village in New York. They perfectly captured and enhanced the major alchemical powers I needed to (barely) get through those challenging years. Shamanic totems, they channeled me through simplicity in the midst of sophistication. I have gotten a visceral charge of joy and power from my encounters with them ever since—most recently in 2005, touring the Met's retrospective of the Combines in the company of Charles Altieri, delightful friend and brilliant literary critic.

The letter above is posted by way of thanks to Rauschenberg—and as a reminder that I aim to "not feel shame in my joy nor regret or fright in history."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Valentine's Ball: Where The Goddess and Poetry Mate

I have been decorating the house like mad, since tonight Glen and I are hosting a Valentine's Ball. The decor involves silky sari cloth in rich colors, little silken nooks out of pre-Raphealite paintings, sparkling lights and votives, big sparkly red hearts. There is something extremely liberating about all this, sobering in light of the fact that in some places in the world, one could be jailed for wearing red on Valentine's Day.

This is probably the first mega-party we've ever thrown that wasn't for Halloween/Samhain/my birthday. It's very different kind of fun, and it fits the season—the whiteness of the snow suddenly seeming dramatic, somehow indulgent, more sensuous than stark, the murmurings among the birds hinting at matings to come, the thaw of Imbolc, just two weeks ago now, almost imperceptibly spreading further along. . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Magical, Manic Poets: Poetry as Right-Hemispheric Language

"If left-hemispheric dominance for language is not the ‘natural’ condition of human beings aged eight and older, but rather, a side effect of print literacy, then it stands to reason that the qualitative changes in consciousness between
oral and print cultures—from community identity, ‘magical thinking,’ pervasive animist spirituality, and poetry to individualism, science, and rationalism, faith-based religion or agnosticism/atheism, and prose—may be the outward signs
of a fundamental shift from right- to left-hemispheric structuring of conscious thought processes and memories.”

—Julie Kane, "Poetry as Right-Hemispheric Language," p. 16

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Not Being White: For Robbie Burns Day

The timing was perfect. Just on Robbie Burns' birthday, a lovely little package arrived from a small town in Scotland--the "Scottish lace panel" I had ordered from Ebay to filter the glare in my writing studio window. It's replete with red deer, Edinburgh Castle, and the word "Scotland" facing four different directions. What more could a Scottish American poet want?

Though i was raised with a steady awareness of my roots, I guess my coming-out as a Scottish American really started last year, as I was sitting in on the "writing about race" workshop we have started offering at Stonecoast due to student demand.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is a Witch? What is a Poet? What is a Poetess?

When the first definition came to me, I was tired from the exciting rigors of a Stonecoast residency but had centered myself with water, air, and thought. I thought of it while driving to the Stone House to teach a workshop:

A witch is someone who is so sensitive to the energy of the physical world that they have found it necessary to cultivate (perhaps initially as a survival skill!) the innate human ability to notice and change that energy. (Starhawk put it more succinctly: a witch is someone who can change consciousness at will).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Weathering the Work of Change: Marginalization in Popular Culture and Poetry

My cousin Charlie Finch, writer and Senior Critic for Artnet Worldwide, sent some words of advice in response to my recent post about Avatar: "I think one needs to tread very carefully when dealing with expensive cultural phenomena such as "Avatar" or Susan Boyle. These are cultural anvils dropped from on high with the apparent touch of a feather that are designed to manipuate our emotions and separate us from our wallets and our identities, so "caveat emptor.""