“The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One” is Amanda Lovelace’s second book of poetry in the “women are some kind of magic” series, and that is exactly what this book is: fiery, passionate magic. “Witch” has an underlying theme of female empowerment, focused on finding the strength to take back our stories and be the heroes we know we can be.
“For the girl on fire. Thank you for inspiring me to gently set the world alight. You may have a gown of flames, but those same flames run through my veins.”
The book opens with this poignant dedication to the readers, setting the tone immediately. Lovelace’s poetry is beautifully brave, not shying away from the uncomfortable topics such as trauma, abuse, and a myriad of others she describes in a trigger warning at the beginning of this collection. So, the rebellion begins.
The book is then organized into four sections: the trial, the burning, the firestorm, and the ashes. Red is implemented throughout the book on the cover and with the font, which shows an impeccable attention to detail, as Lovelace finds a way to immerse the readers in the imagery she has created.
“Tell me something, would you? Haven’t you ever wished you could dance in the ashes of everyone who ever doubted your worth & scoffed at your words? (shhh, it’s okay. I won’t tell).”
This haunting piece gripped me immediately, as I think it’s a beautiful example of the power of Lovelace’s words. Each poem in this collection is so full of passion and rage, empowerment and truth. It’s as though Lovelace is standing at the stakes of her fellow “witches”, reclaiming the very fire that was supposed to burn them. Each poem stirs the reader into an uprising of emotion.
“This is an overdue love letter to each and every woman who walked these fields before me & made the path soft enough for me to walk through to get to the side they could never reach. For that, I owe you so much- but I owe some things to myself too.”
This is one of my favorites as it describes the unmistakable power of women, from generation to generation. Each making her own prints, each preparing the way for the next. It honors the strength of those that came before while also serving as a catalyst for the power we have within ourselves.
Throughout “the trial” section, Lovelace discusses abuse, hardship, and perceived weakness. What I love is the underlying themes of strength and fire. Fire was meant to be a tool to burn the witches, to defeat them. But, Lovelace often flips the script and makes the fire a beautiful attribute of the soul and a symbol of power and revolution for the witches. It smolders in your heart and creates an urgency that pulses through your veins as you move through this collection.
“The burning” section delves into the topics of self-worth and the expectations placed on women’s bodies. There are so many raw and heart-rending pieces that are sure to resonate with readers, who will feel their souls aching with the harsh realities and painful truths of what so many women go through every day.
My favorite poem of the collection reads,
“womanhood doesn’t have to be this twisted competition. Let us cultivate womanhood until it grows into sisterhood. We’ll sprinkle lavender seeds into our old wounds until we’re finally healed. –your sisters are not your enemies.”
I love that within this collection, the author writes of empowerment, for the self and for our fellow women. She highlights the power of our individuality and how it can be further nurtured through supporting one another. “Witch” encourages its readers to stand up and fight, and in the process: heal.
Lovelace illustrates that healing can come: through writing, through poetry, through sorting through the ashes.
“You think your body is made up of mostly water, but really your body is made up of mostly poetry. Wherever you go, you leave behind puddles of words in your wake. Collect the integral pieces of yourself & call the words back. You deserve to be whole again (the sign you’ve been waiting for II)”.
To me, “Witch” felt like a battle-cry for every woman who has ever felt weak or unworthy. For every woman who has been the subject of scrutiny, abuse, or ridicule. “Witch” is a reawakening, a repurposing of the fire meant to consume you.
It is a book that grips you from start to finish, that is sure to be full of mantras and inspiration for readers for years to come. A beautiful show of feminism and fire, with breathtaking imagery and words. This was such a wonderful read, and I highly recommend you experience “Witch” for yourself.
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE