Poetry. "You and I were told to swallow / our hexed howling, refuse the reptilian // and the mammalian, unless it's tame, / you know, cow-eyed, with a roundness eager / for petting." A powerful evocation of the feminist voice, HEX & HOWL both applies and upends textuality and tradition, parsing and refuting prior masculinist treatments of women's bodies. The poems in this collection forge multi-vocalities, some exhibiting pleasure in the parameters of the sonnet, others designing new poetic architectures through the double and multiple voicings of centos and self-portraits.
"Now we do the refusing; now // we flame in the celluloid dark." HEX & HOWL is collaborative writing at its most innovative, playful, and powerful. Muench and White allow for the creation of a chimeric construction, a third-bodied poem that engages in language-play to explode notions of subjectivity, as the "I" and "you" and "we" shift and shimmer with agency and possibility beyond the page.
"Like heroines harrowing Hell, Simone Muench and Jackie White rock and reel in these scintillating collaborative sonnets and portraits, resurrecting the girls buried in the woods and garden of misogynist brutality, refracting ruin through ingenious sequences of sense and sound. Wielding needle and shovel, scalpel and gavel, Muench and White 'churn those ashed hours into aurora,' stretching the sonnet's corset into glorious trumpet, 'spinning loose from that pinned darkness' into incantatory song after song—each line a rivet, sorrowful and resplendent, fiery curse and wise dirge—giving voice and ear to those who were not heard, in searing soaring stereo."—Anna Maria Hong
"The chapbook HEX & HOWL, a collaboration between Simone Muench and Jackie K. White, delivers twenty-six affirmations of individual resilience in response to forces of silencing or erasure. The title poem sets the premise that 'You and I are told to swallow / our hexed howling, refuse the reptilian // and the mammalian, unless it's tame,' but goes on to signal a sharp shift, 'Now we do the refusing; now // we flame in the celluloid dark, a primal / rewinding…' The poems in this collection invite us to 'Let bees shimmer inside our eyes instead / of men's glory,' and inform us that 'We took the garden with us, now the gavel // is our godhead.' Finding fuel in memory, and ignition in lines from poets such as Akhmatova and Pizarnik, the poems instruct readers that 'We can't recast ruin. / We have to sit in the taint. Survive it.' We exit this chapbook at a point of catharsis, fortified by the sway of sonnets, empowered to face our predicaments with fresh ferocity."—Mary Biddinger
Simone Muench is the author of Lampblack & Ash (Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry and NYT Editor's Choice; Sarabande, 2005), Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010), DISAPPEARING ADDRESS with Philip Jenks (BlazeVOX books, 2010), Wolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014), HEX & HOWL with Jackie K. White (Black Lawrence Press, 2021), TRACE won the Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence, 2014), and SUTURE, with Dean Rader (Black Lawrence, 2017). She co-edited the anthology They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence, 2018). Her honors include an NEA fellowship, three Illinois Arts Council fellowships, the Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry, and residency fellowships to Yaddo, Artsmith, and VSC. In 2014, she was awarded the Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Award, which recognizes artists for innovation, achievements, and community contributions. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois and is a professor of English at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Currently, she serves as faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, as a senior poetry editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and creator of the HB Sunday Reading Series.Jackie K. White has has been an editor with RHINO, faculty advisor for Jet Fuel Review, and professor of English at Lewis University. She has published three previous chapbooks—Bestiary Charming (Anabiosis), Petal Tearing & Variations (Finishing Line), and Come clearing (Dancing Girl)—along with numerous poems and translations in ACM, Bayou, Fifth Wednesday, Folio, Quarter after Eight, Spoon River, Third Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, among others. An assistant editor for They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, her collaborative poems (with Simone Muench) have appeared in Ecotone, Hypertext, The Journal, Pleiades, and others.Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA