A Story of Witchery
by Jennifer Calkins
Fantasy, fear, and freedom all play parts in A Story of Witchery, a new book_length narrative poem by Jennifer Calkins. Here we meet Emily, our “small and weedy” protagonist, an orphan complicit (perhaps) in her own abandonment, and who is caught up, as poet Amy Gerstler writes in her Introduction, in a story “entwined with science facts and twisted clinical fictions.” In language rolling and tripping with spare precision, Calkins makes a modern pilgrim progress into the imagination and the dark world of medicine. Rich and haunting images create an environment of seeming familiarity which, like the internal landscape of the protagonist, dissolves only to reform, until finally resolving into a healed whole.