March 18 , 2008



With the narrative pull of a novel and the vibrancy of a play for voices, Damian Walford Davies's Witch offers a thrilling portrait of a Suffolk village in the throes of the witchcraft hunts of the mid-seventeenth century. The poems in this collection are dark spells, compact and moving: seven sections, each of seven poems, each of seven couplets, are delivered by those most closely involved in the 'making' of a witch. The speakers - from Thomas Love the priest, the villagers who slowly succumb to suspicion and counter-accusation, the 'discoverer of witches' Francis Hurst, and the 'witch' herself - authentically conjure a war-torn society in which religious paranoia amplifies local grievances to fever pitch. Witch is a damning parable that chimes with the terror and anxieties of our own haunted age.

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