2016 Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace returns in ‘the witch doesn’t burn in this one’ — the bold second book in her “women are some kind of magic” series.
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
Check out my review for the princess saves herself in this one here!
There seems to be this general rule that the second one – be it a movie or book in a series or a band’s second album – is never as good as the first. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule (actually, a lot of exceptions…maybe I made that ‘general rule’ up) and Amanda Lovelace’s second collection is one such exception. Unlike the witch, her creative energy most certainly burns and burns yet brighter in the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
The thing I adore about Amanda’s work is that I always feel like I’m being addressed directly. There are so many of her poems that just speak to me on a soul level, one such poem being:
say it / with me / now: / “i am a woman. / i am a human. / & i matter with / no conditions / attached / you may not / see my worth / but i do. / i do.” (page 120)
(and countless others, I’ve folded over so many page corners, forgive me, Amanda)
I think everybody interprets poetry differently and the meaning they derive is the meaning that brings them the most solace. For me, this poem reminded me of the non-relationship I have with my father. I’ve been rejected by him twice as an adult and despite telling myself I’m ‘over’ it, that wound has never quite healed. I ask myself things like “How much am I worth if my own flesh and blood doesn’t want me?” or “If my own father doesn’t like me, what chance do I stand with anyone else?”. In a few lines, Amanda reminded me that as long as I see my worth, fuck what my father thinks or doesn’t think of me. I matter even if I don’t matter to him.
the witch doesn’t burn in this one implores us women to support all of our fellow women, regardless of how they identify, regardless of their skin colour, regardless of their age, regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their religion, regardless of their education. They are all our sisters. Some people naively believe that the fight for women’s rights is ‘over’ just because things are okay for them and the women in their inner circle, but Amanda reminds us that globally – and sometimes not even that, sometimes it can be the woman next door or the woman we see everyday on the bus on the way to work – there are women being stripped of their rights; they’re stripped of their bodily autonomy, they’re stripped of their voices and they’re stripped of their dignity. These are the women we must lift “above the flames”. These are the women we must continue to fight for.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Song: Two Steps From Hell’s The Fire in Her Eyes
This book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-reader format.