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Witches All the Way Down’: Persona, Archive, Incantation

May 6, 2023 @ 10:15 am - 11:15 am

In this interactive panel, five poets whose projects have engaged with—and challenged—representations of women as one-dimensional archetypes (sinner, saint, virgin, mother, witch) that appear in many historical, religious, and literary texts will share their poetry and brief comments on their creative process; ample time will be allotted for questions and discussion with the audience. Therese Gleason, a descendant of a judge at Salem and the 11th great-granddaughter of Alice Lake, who was executed for witchcraft on Boston Common c. 1650, will read from her chapbook, Matrilineal, which includes poems about her ancestor, Eve, Mary Magdalene, and St. Teresa of Ávila. Mandy Gutmann-González will share selections from their project, Salem Songs, which mines the 17th-century legal archive of the Salem trials, considering the court examination as poetic form, a hybrid of legal language and lyric utterance. Carolyn Oliver will read selections from an ongoing series of Eve persona poems (some of which appear in her chapbook Mirror Factory and her collection Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble) that explore violence, maternity, queerness, witchcraft, and sexuality—with a particular focus on the dialogue form. Cindy Veach will share selected works from her collection, Her Kind, an exploration of the Salem Witch Trials which braids archival accounts of the accused women displaying courage and integrity with contemporary examples of women resisting the traps of victimhood in a modern culture that often still remains inhospitable, if not hostile. Elizabeth Sylvia will read from her collection, None But Witches, in which she celebrates the intelligence and sharp wit with which Shakespeare’s female characters wield language as a means to speak truth to power in a world in which they are viewed as “Witches. // Witches // all the way down.”


May 6, 2023
10:15 am - 11:15 am