Annie Finch's books include eighteen volumes of poetry, plays, translation, literary essays, textbooks and anthologies. Her books of poetry have been finalists for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, National Poetry Series, and Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award and have received the Sarasvati Award for Poetry. She is the editor of Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, the first major literary anthology on abortion, forthcoming from Haymarket Books, and her poems have been featured in anthologies including the Norton Anthology of World Poetry and Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. In addition to five books of poetry, she has also published translations from Ancient Greek, Anglo-Saxon, Russian, and French including a translation of the complete poetry of French Renaissance poet Louise Labé (University of Chicago Press, 2006).
Finch's book Eve, a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Yale Series of Younger Poets, appeared from Story Line Press in 1997. Calendars, a finalist for the National Poetry Series and short-listed for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award, was published by Tupelo Press in 2003 (a second edition with accompanying CD of the poems recorded by Finch would be published in 2008). The Encyclopedia of Scotland appeared from Salt Books in the U.K. in 2004 and Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto in Seven Dreams, winner of the Sarasvati Award for Poetry, was published by Red Hen Press in 2010. Wesleyan University Press published Spells: New and Selected Poems (including a collection of fifty previously unpublished poems from the 1980s which Finch refers to as "the lost poems") in 2013. In addition to these full-length books, Finch's poems are also collected in a number of limited edition and micro-press books including Catching the Mermother (Aralia Press, 1996), Annie Finch's Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2004), Home Birth (Dos Madres Press, 2004), Shadow-Bird (Good Utopian Books, 2009), and The Voice Was the Sea (Voices from the American Land, 2012).
Finch's opera libretto "Marina" premiered from American Opera Projects in New York, with music by Deborah Drattell and directed by Anne Bogart. Other poetic collaborations with theater, opera, dance, music, and visual art, including "Wolf Song" (2012) and the one-woman show "Five Directions"(2015), have been produced at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spoleto Festival, Chicago Art Institute, and Carnegie Hall. Finch's other commissioned and occasional poems include a Phi Beta Kappa poem for Yale University, the keynote poem for the launch of the Mezzo Cammin Women's Poetry Timeline at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and "Names," installed as part of the 9-11 Memorial at the Cathedral of St. John Divine in New York.
Addressing audiences at hundreds of events, Finch has offered talks and poetry performances at venues including A Room of Her Own, Columbia University, Emerging Women, Harvard University, Modern Matriarchal Studies, Notre Dame University, Stanford University, Oxford University, University of California at Berkeley, and Yale University. She has appeared across the U.S. and in Canada, in England, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, and Spain. Finch has been commissioned to write and perform poems including the 9-11 Memorial Poem now permanently installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC; Phi Beta Kappa poem at Yale University; and the opening poem for the Women’s Poetry Timeline at National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Finch has been quoted in The New Yorker, New York Times, and San Francisco Chronicle and she has done numerous radio and TV interviews including NPR, Voice of America, and PBS, with poetry featured on MTV’s Def Poetry Jam. She has published poems in dozens of journals including Kenyon Review, New Republic, Partisan Review, Poetry, and Paris Review and has been spotlighted in extensive interviews in AWP Chronicle and American Poetry Review. Finch’s poem “Winter Solstice Chant” was featured in the Sunday New York Times in an article about the spiritual meaning of the solstice, and her poem "Moon for Our Daughters" circulated by the Academy of American Poets as the Poem-a-Day to over 300,000 readers via email and social media on the day after the 2016 election. On Brainpicker, Maria Popova called the poem “a breath of sanity and hope.” Garrison Keillor noted Finch's birthday on October 31 on the “Writers Almanac,” and quoted her about poetry and magic. Keillor also chose Finch’s anthology Villanelles as one of 7 recommended 2012 holiday gift books.
Finch has published a dozen widely-used works on poetry including A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry and the co-edited anthologies Villanelles and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, both in the Random House Everymans Library. Finch’s editing is known for reaching out and building bridges; her coedited anthology An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art was called “revolutionary” for its range and diversity by President Obama’s inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander.
Annie Finch has also been influential as a literary critic. Her book The Ghost of Meter (1993) laid out a theory of metrical meanings in American free verse of which The Canadian Review of American Studies wrote, “Is there such a thing as American prosody? The question has puzzled many . . . but until Finch’s book no-one, I think, has contributed significantly to the discussion.” Timothy Morris, reviewing the book in Style, wrote, “ I would bet that a whole generation of critics will learn from Finch how to hear the poems they read.” Finch's essays on poetics are collected in The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self. Her groundbreaking work reimagining the aesthetic traditions of the “poetess,” particularly the essay “The Poetess in the World: Metaphor and Subjectivity in Lydia Sigourney’s Nature Poetry” (Legacy, 1987), is widely cited. In 1998 she founded the international online community WOM-PO (Discussion of Women's Poetry Listserv), a hub of discussion of women's poetics for a decade. Much of Finch’s critical work centers on reframing and redefining the role of poetic meter and form in contemporary poetry, and in 2010 she was awarded the Robert Fitzgerald Award for her lifetime contribution to the art of prosody.
The Dictionary of Literary Biography calls Annie Finch a “central figure” whose work “challenges the various orthodoxies of contemporary American poetry . . . In a milieu shaped by the boundaries between avant-garde, narrative, formal and performance poetics, Finch brings together all of these traditions in her musical poetry, exploratory anthologies, and probing theoretical work. Finch’s poetry and criticism have played a major role in recent feminist poetics and reinvigorated the discussion and practice of formalism for the postmodern era. Uniting all of her work is a conception of poetry as incantatory and performative, marking the deepest meanings of our lives through the body as well as the mind."
Annie Finch has held fellowships at the Stanford Humanities Center, Wesleyan Writers Conference, the Architecture and Spirituality Forum, and Cherry Hill Seminary where she was the inaugural artist in residence. Her extensive literary archive was purchased by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 2016. She is an Emeritus Fellow of Black Earth Institute, served for a decade as Director of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, and has taught and performed at universities including Harvard, U.C. Berkeley, and Oxford. She is the founder of Healing Rhythms of Words workshops, a system of psychological and spiritual growth through rhythmical writing.