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Out Now: A Story of Witchery

Published onJun 05, 2024
Out Now: A Story of Witchery
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About the Book

Fantasy, fear, and freedom all play a part in A Story of Witchery, a book-length narrative poem by Jennifer Calkins, and newly illustrated by Thor Harris. Here we meet Emily, our “small and weedy” protagonist, an orphan complicit (perhaps) in her own abandonment 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 a seemingly familiar environment which, like the internal landscape of the protagonist, dissolves only to reform, until finally resolving into a healed whole.

This title is released as an open access second edition as part of punctum’s Special Collections project.

About the Author & Illustrator

Through the mediums of language, image, and schematics, among others, Jennifer Calkins explores intersections, gaps, coincidences, and emergences among the disciplinary fields of science, law, and critical theory that constrain, restrain, and mediate relationships among humans, nonhuman beings, and the more than human world. In her creative and legal work, Jen is informed by the multitude of alternative ways of knowing the world that survive, persist, and emerge within and outside of the dominant white European worldview. Jen completed an MFA in creative writing in 1990, a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology in 2000, and a JD in 2018. Jen’s peer reviewed publications touch on the behavioral, ecological, and population genetic patterns emergent out of the social, reproductive, and family behavior of Callipepla quail, the evolution of avian reproductive proteins, Moby Dick, and the Paris Climate Agreement. For over a decade, Jen taught biology, evolution, and creative writing, first at the University of Washington and then at The Evergreen State College. As an attorney, Jen has represented people and organizations seeking environmental justice, and attention to the importance of attending to forests and wildlife in administrative and judicial settings. Jen’s hybrid work has appeared in a variety of literary journals. In addition to A Story of Witchery (Les Figues Press, 2006), Jen published the lyric noir Fugitive Assemblage (3rd Thing Press, 2020). Currently, Jen is curating and participating in Delisted 2023, a collaborative creative emergent project engaging the extinction crisis.

Thor Harris is an artist and musician who has lived in Austin, Texas since 1985. He studied art and music from early childhood through three years of college, then dropped out to play in bands in Austin’s thriving music scene. He has toured the world with Swans, Shearwater, Bill Callahan, XiuXiu, Thor&Friends, and others. Thor wrote and illustrated a graphic novel called Ocean of Despair. He also has a book of illustrations called A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Friendship.

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