HoodWitch,Poetry. Acre Books, 2019.
cover & interior design: barbara neely bourgoyne
cover art: tyrone geter
Paper $16.00 Paperback, 114 pp.
october 15, 2019. ISBN: 9781946724243
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT HOODWITCH
Airea D. Matthews, 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets winner
"Charged with surreal images and personal history, HoodWitch is an exciting debut that haunts at every possible turn. This richly imaginative world in which all is possible and time and space are merely distant constraints explores the hunger for intimacy and the constant remains of absence. This collection reminds that the truest representation of emotional truth is best derived through the fantastic. Each poem is a special magic that inhabits the deepest parts of the psyche, digs in, and resists forgetting."
Laura Wetherington, National Poetry Series Winner
“HoodWitch is an incantatory, ecstatic collection brimming with heartbreak and triumph. The speakers in these poems move from child-like curiosity to devastating grief, all while singing a celebratory anthem for blxck wxmenhood. You cannot come away from this book unchanged. This resonant, capacious debut will leave you staggering. Faylita Hicks is just getting started. The world better get ready.”
This riveting debut from poet Faylita Hicks is a reclamation of power for black women and nonbinary people whose bodies have become the very weapons used against them. HoodWitch tells the story of a young person who discovers that they are “something that can & will survive / a whole century of hunt.” Through a series of poems based on childhood photographs, Hicks invokes the spirits of mothers and daughters, sex workers and widows, to conjure an alternative to their own early deaths and the deaths of those whom they have already lost.
In this collection about resilience, Hicks speaks about giving her child up for adoption, mourning the death of her fiancé, and embracing the nonbinary femme body—persevering in the face of medical malpractice, domestic abuse, and police violence. The poems find people transformed, “remade out of smoke & iron” into cyborgs and wolves, machines and witches—beings capable of seeking justice in a world that refuses them the option.
Exploring the intersections of Christianity, modern mysticism, and Afrofuturism in a sometimes urban, sometimes natural setting, Hicks finds a place where “everyone everywhere is hands in the air,” where “you know they gonna push & pull it together. / Just like they learned to.” It is a place of natural magick—where someone like Hicks can have more than one name: where they can be both dead and alive, both a mortal and a god.
Lee Herrick, Author of Scar and Flower
"The visceral music of this poet's hard-won grace is a liberating testament to black womanhood and what poetry can do. This 'hallelujah to the hoodwitches' is important, necessary, and fearless without a single false note—one of the most original debuts I have read in many years. These brilliant poems are built from fuel and fire. This powerful poet is the future and the truth."