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A History of Touch
Guernica Editions, Spring 2022
100 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771837217
ISBN10: 1771837217
$20.00 Canada, $17.95 US, £11.95 UK

A History of Touch is a poetry collection about women in folklore and history who were ill, disabled, or otherwise labelled ‘hysteric.' The work bears witness to the lives of women with varying experiences, such as a woman whose epilepsy was mistaken for demonic possession, Sarah Winchester's grief, Mary Roff and her love of leeches, and the “witch”, Biddy Early. There is a poem about Bridget Cleary, who upon displaying her independence was burned to death by her husband, believing her to be a changeling. The collection includes pieces on anchoresses, Rosemary Kennedy, and accused witches. Each poem discusses an aspect of or a moment in a woman's life, connecting these moments to different aspects of embodiment and the natural world. A History of Touch is an examination of women vilified or left behind for their strength or their weakness. This book uses strong poetic imagery and metaphor to elevate details drawn from real life to that of poetry. It comprises of three sections, each drifting between biographical poetry, experimental poetry, fairy tale sequences, folklore, and pieces that incorporate elements of confessional poetry.

Books by Erin Emily Ann Vance

A History of Touch