Annie Finch, poet, translator, librettist, editor and critic, visited Marymount last Tuesday to deliver a moving and memorable poetry reading. The reading was a strong affirmation of women, the earth, and the value of women’s ways of knowing the world. She read her work with dramatic intensity fitting the beauty and subject matter of the poetry; many of the poems felt like spells or incantations. Her work spoke to themes of the body, the natural world, and the power of the feminine, affirming Ron Silliman’s words: “Annie Finch is an American original, a master of control who shows no fear of excess, and none of quietness either.”
Annie Finch is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, plays, translation, literary essays, textbooks, and anthologies, and her work includes Spells: New and Selected Poems; Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto in Seven Dreams; Calendars, which was shortlisted for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award; a translation of the Complete Poems of Louise Labé; and The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self. She has also edited a number of anthologies including An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art and A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary
Women. Her poems have been heard on Voice of America and HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, among other places, and her work has inspired a number of musical and dance performances. She has also written two opera librettos.
In 1997 Finch founded WOM-PO, a national listserv devoted to discussion of women’s
poetry. She founded this forum to carve out a space for women poet’s voices, which were often silenced in the larger, male-dominated literary culture. This group is still going strong and providing space for fruitful discussion among women (and a few men) about issues concerning women poets of all backgrounds.
Marymount was honored and moved by her presence on our campus.