My matrilineage includes creative and powerful women of Nordic and Celtic descent. My great-grandmother Maggie West composed operas, was known to stop cartmen on the street from beating their horses, and proudly attended women's suffrage marches into her eighties. Her daughter, my great-aunt Jessie Wallace Hughan, was a pioneering Socialist who earned a Ph.D in economics in 1910 and ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York before women even had the right to vote, a poet and a teacher who founded the War Resisters League in her living room. Her sister, my grandmother Marjorie Hughan Rockwell, was a singer, writer, and teacher who advocated for educational reform.
And her daughter, my beloved mother Maggie Finch, was a poet and fiction writer as well as a leading doll artist who served as President of the National Institute of American Doll Artists. Maggie was my first and best teacher of poetry writing, and I was honored to edit two of Maggie's four poetry collections: her first book Davy's Lake (which I self-published for her in 1992) and her last book, Crone's Wines: Late Poems (Word Galaxy Press, 2017). The poems are meditations on love, nature, aging, and death, full of wisdom and humor. Copies can be ordered here.
ABOUT MAGGIE FINCH'S POETRY
Margaret Rockwell Finch's moving lyrics are passionate and lightly elegiac by turns. They speak unabashedly about desire and the human heart, but without the taints of sensationalism or sentimentality. Speak, however, is not the right word; given the delicately turned musicality of these poems, the mot juste must be sing.
Haunted, burnished passion echoes through these deft and beautifully alert lyrics. Margaret Rockwell Finch uses poetry's traditional means to ends that are purely her own. From time's quarrels, she has fashioned poems that resonate with poetry's timelessness.
Like the best of the chain of passionate women poets to which she belongs, Margaret Rockwell Finch is skilled in the perfectly torqued line, angled to pull power straight from the personal and often the collective unconscious. So many of these perfect crystals, forged with feeling and dignity out of the heart of experience, shine with the clarity of honesty and the strength of skillful craft. I am honored to count this poet as my literal and literary foremother.
The poems in Crone’s Wines often unlock the memories at the fringes of consciousness, making them come alive, or reflect on the mysterious and unspoken, casting them into the realm of the familiar. With a mix of formal and free-verse poems, Crone’s Wines is wide-ranging in style and scope: its many preoccupations include solitude, nature, family, love, even the lightheartedness of cat poems, and aging and death—as befits the “late poems” subtitle, informed by the poet’s age. There is a sense of the spiritual and meditative in the universal poems, and a fierce openness in the poems of personal relationship, often intimate in their recollections. This a rewarding collection with a lifetime of memories and experience, delivered with wit and wisdom.
—From the Publisher, Word Galaxy Press, a Division of Able Muse Press
Maggie Finch was born Margaret Rockwell on April 20, 1921. Her poems have appeared in publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, Saturday Review, and Sequoia, and her three previous books of poems are Davy’s Lake, The Barefoot Goose, and Sonnets from Seventy-Five Years. She served as president of the National Institute of American Doll Artists and copresident of the Maine Poets Society. Maggie, who called herself a witch and was a firm believer in reincarnation, passed over on Jan. 14, 2018.