POETRY WITCH PRESS
The mission of Poetry Witch Press is to serve the needs of Poetry Witch Community; to support the resurgence of the Divine Feminine; and to celebrate and share the crafts of meter, form, and rhythm.
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by Jeffrey Betcher
Foreword by Annie Finch
Publication date: June, 2022
Diagnosed with a terminal cancer, poet and community activist Jeffrey Betcher spent the last months of his life crafting an extraordinary crown of sonnets. Filled with grief, humor, truth, and triumph, singing with powerful rhythms and unforgettable words, this is poetry at its best.
Although Jeffrey had never written in meter before, at his mentor Annie Finch's suggestion he began a crown of anapestic sonnets that developed into the gorgeous and unstinting testament of a courageous soul navigating illness and facing death. Perfecting this extraordinary group of poems became a focus of the final months of Jeffrey's life. Now they offer all readers a rare poetic gift, adept and searching, shot through with honesty, wit, and courage. This memorial chapbook is the first publication of the sonnets.
Jeffrey Betcher and Annie Finch discuss poetry and death...
This is the conversation referenced in Annie's Preface to Whistling Through.
Jeffrey Betcher (1960-2017) was a writer, educator, advocate for the prevention of violence against women and children, and a grassroots community organizer who founded the Quesada Gardens Initiative. Jeffrey was born in rural Ohio and lived in San Francisco for 30 years, gaining national attention as a pioneer in the guerilla garden movement by turning his dangerous street in the Bayview neighborhood into an urban oasis. His writings, often centered on LGBTQ themes, include short stories, journalism, and The Fucking Seasons, Selected Poems 1986 to 2016.
"Whistling Through" is an odyssey into the cancer machine and death itself
"Whistling Through" is a major poem, an important contribution to anapestic poetry in English, to gay literature, to the form of the crown of sonnets, and to the literature of mortality.
Betcher's crown of sonnets is an alchemical transmutation where his ordeal becomes a no-holds-barred odyssey that’s profound, funny, terrifying, and utterly dazzling.
An Exaltation of Goddesses
Coordinated by Annie Finch
Sing Doun the Mune! Selected Ballads by Helen Adam
Edited by Kristin Prevallet
Publication date: October 31, 2021
W. H. Auden awarded Helen Adam the New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award for “excellence in craft”; Richard Howard described her ballads as “glittering sorceries”; and Robert Duncan referred to her as “the grain of living poetry that saves me at times.” Adam’s magical ballads, the core of her poetry, are collected here for the first time with her own thoughts on the ballad and commentary by Annie Finch and Kristin Prevallet.
Hail the singularity of Pixie Pool! Hail the doyenne of golden monstrous hair, devouring our hunger for wild ballads both ancient-rooted and shiny new as only she can do! —Lee Ann Brown
The luminous balladeer Helen Adam was an anomaly who dropped into the most experimental scenes of contemporary poetry. Her unique orality has been engraved on many generations of poets. She now enters our contemporary consciousness through the reprint of these ballads, playing out as they do the timeless battles of the psyche. —Anne Waldman
Publication date: August 2, 2021
Contributors: Ann Filemyr, Anna Halberstadt, Annie Finch, Arundhati Subramaniam, Judy Grahn, Jurgita Jasponyte, Marianela Medrano, Mary Mackey, Monica Mody, Purvi Shah, Raina Leon, Richelle Slota, and Yona Harvey.
This gorgeous keepsake book gathers 13 poems on Goddesses by accomplished poets from many parts of the world. The Goddesses invoked are Aruru, Ataberya, Brigid, Cybele, Dalia, Frija, Kali, Nana Buruku, Neeli Mariamman, Nyx, Saraswati, Xori, and Zemyna. Each poem is followed by the poet's comments and some information on the Goddess.
An Exaltation of Goddesses is published in conjunction with a video of these poems performed by the poets, produced by Poetry Witch Ritual Theater for the 2021 Symposium of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.