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Free Verse: Annie Finch

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 12, 2013 - As our days grow shorter and our nights longer, here’s a little song that won’t lend much comfort or cheer to those disturbed by a nightmare. The rhyme scheme and repetition make this short lyric feel particularly claustrophobic.

Annie Finch 


Opening light calls the river back to see

where the old nightmare has risen from, when she

calls herself back in the rhythm that is she.

Nightmare, oh woman lost in the depths of me,

lost to the rage that has risen up with me,

lost till I ride you home — nightmare of me.

This poem comes from Finch’s newest collection, Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyen University Press, 2013). She is the author of six books of poetry, including one in translation, and several books on poetic technique. She is director of the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine.

Finch will be reading from her work as part of a River Styx event that starts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave. The cost is $5 at the door, $4 for members, students and seniors and $4 for subscribers to the Hungry Young Poets series.

To learn more about River Styx, click here. Richard Newman, River Styx editor for 18 years, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, "Borrowed Towns" and "Domestic Fugues." He also co-directs the River Styx at Tavern of Fine Arts reading series.