Megan Gannon’s The Witches Index: Spells, Incantations, Poems from Sweet Publications feels like it should: an earthy, mystical, and intimate. Gannon’s chapbook is simultaneously delicate and sturdy in design. The brown cover stock is thick and dark. It almost looks like a leather bound book. To continue with the idea of an old, leather bound book, the cover text is pressed with a shimmering, gold ink. The font is a delicate script, and the moth on the cover invokes a nature-y sense. The stitch, which is what caught my eye on the sale table in the first place, is an open stitch with a woven, spiral twist. The thread, thick and smooth, loops through the book and ends with a long tail serving as a bookmark. The design of the book is the dream of every chapbook artist. It’s edgy and interesting while remaining simplistic. It keeps the DIY feel while showing true craftsmanship. Inside, the design remains delicate and professional. The transparent spacing page doesn’t feel like a piece of tissue paper in front of a graduation announcement. Printed on it, again, is the moth and an epigraph from the Salem Witchcraft Papers. Turning this page feels as though one is opening up a sacred text. I must also note the text font of the book: Perpetua. We at Slash Pine are currently having something my friend Alexandra describes as a “love affair” with the font, so I was happy to see the elegant, clean font used in the chapbook.
The book matches its design. Gannon’s elegant, intimate poems are all titled as spells. There are what I would consider more conventional ideas of spells, such as the “Housekeeping Spell” and “Amnesia Spell,” as well as spells named after female authors and poets, like “Brontë Spell” and “Dickinson Spell.” Gannon plays with form throughout the chapbook. She uses line spacing and interesting shapes for each poem. The forms are all extremely functional for each poem. Her last poem in the collection, “Spell to Reconcile Warning Wills,” is a poem for two voices. After reading the author’s note, I felt silly. These poems feel like spells, even though the subject matter may not be, so I should have been reading them aloud the whole time. Right? I went back and read aloud all of the poems. While some are more difficult to read aloud (See “Sappho Spell”), the poems share a lyrical voice throughout that is vulnerable, intimate, and strong, as all good spells should be.
You can (and should) find Gannon’s book from Sweet Publications. Read it alone in bed at night. Read it aloud. Listen to Gannon’s spells, and enjoy the intimacy of the chapbook.
Ordering info: http://www.sweetpublications.com/ordering.html