Annie Finch

Annie Finch Portfolio

A Blessing on the Poets

Patient earth-digger, impatient fire-maker,
Hungry word-taker and roving sound-lover,
Sharer and saver, muser and acher,
You who are open to hide or uncover,
Time-keeper and –hater, wake-sleeper, sleep-waker:
May language’s language, the silence that lies
Under each word, move you over and over,
Turning you, wondering, back to surprise.


Proportion is life measured open by harmony.
It vaults us to open like atriums, entering
our pillared awareness in footsteps, then building
our spaces with conscious decision. Its mystery
makes earth that our forest looks back for. Its beauty
has felt us repeating, then come to repeat us.
Its answers have carved us like mineral and bent us
in spirals. Its questions have rocked us past symmetry.
And, if we have voices that build to a word
and breathe out through poems, it comes to enclose us
by seeding the places we know we inhabit—
(make local, remember, name, touch and are stirred
in, share with those who understand, love, or oppose us
(because they live here, in the place we inhabit,
and believe what we have grown wise believing:
that belief, like love, rests on no foundation
but the shapes we know how to make by knowing
how they enclose us))—
how they unfold us.


It’s a
Dream that
No white feather
Listens to and

Over windows,
While cool plaster
Fills with night so

It’s a
Tube that
Forces night to
as it moves


Gray Jacobik, “Another Sky, Another Sea,” acrylic and powered copper on MDF, 24″x24″x2.5″

Her Forest

Her forest goes as green as love.
Her ferns are dappled near the ground,
and moss they dappled curls above
stones that Her glacier dappled down.

Her night is sadness well-contained
within the sap that runs the stem
of plants that grow along the night
and root at morning.  Joy finds them,

and oceans, lost because they are vast
(like ruined roads left on the land)
take Her kind waters home each time
that they, pushing raptly at the sand,

make tides with Her evaporate rain.
The ocean is at peace again.
Far algae grows, the blue stays smooth,
And in dim light, the beach is soothed.

Her forest goes as green as love.
Her night is sadness well-contained,
and oceans, lost because they are vast,
make tides with Her evaporate rain.

Test Zone: Alamogordo

Lost in sand, chalk bodies, faces, grace:
Tremble here, come out. The spinning core.

Shut my home.  My life. Oh close them fast.
Close, lost languages stare in my face.

From forgotten forests drives the past:
Desert.  One cold day and one night more.


“Blessing the Boats” and “Architecture” are reprinted from Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2013). “Tube” first appeared in The Harvard Review. “Her Forest” was first published in National Poetry Review. “Test Zone: Alamogordo” was first published in Rattapallax. All poems reprinted by permission of the author.



This portfolio marks the arrival of Annie Finch, who has just moved to Washington, DC. Her six books of poetry include Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2013), Calendars (Tupelo Press, 2003, shortlisted for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award), and Eve (Story Line Press, 1997, finalist for the National Poetry Series and Yale Series of Younger Poets, reprinted in the Carnegie Mellon University Press Classic Contemporaries Series, 2010). Her work has appeared onstage at Carnegie Hall and in The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Finch is also the author or editor of numerous books about poetry, including A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 2012), The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women Form, and the Poetic Self (University of Michigan Press, 2005), and A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women (Story Line Press, 1994).  Her verse play Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto in Seven Dreams received the Sarasvati Award for Poetry, and in 2011 she received the Robert Fitzgerald Award for her lifetime contribution to the field of prosody and verse. She has just completed a book of nonfiction, The Witch in You, and is currently editing an anthology of writings on abortion. She teaches on the low-residency MFA faculty at St. Francis College in Brooklyn and lives in Washington, DC.