Skip to Main Content

Little Spells

Little Spells

“I am not normally moved by perfection, since I like a little mess in poetry, but when a book achieves the trifecta of truly beautiful balance—precise observation, uncannily accurate words, wildness and depth of heart—it must as close to perfect as our weird and glorious art can get. Sweeney understands how the profound and the miniscule are interconstitutive qualities of souls and objects in a universe (“Dwarf star with one eye on the moon”) and this exploration is inner as well as visible, external. Throughout the book, the speaker is concerned with the continuum of life: from stones and plants and planets, to finches and fire, on to witches and princesses and she honors each form it takes. But at some point, this study of life gives way to the song of one who is heartbroken on the path to creating life. This voice sings and cries in such exquisite expression of anguish that art and life find themselves gazing at each other in shock. What good is perfection when the most precious and longed-for star—the one that guided the years— vanishes from the huge dark sky? Art remains and perhaps it comforts as it triumphs here. Sweeney is dazzling—if that matters. I think it does. I am abnormally moved by the perfection of this art. I am crushed by it.”

—Brenda Shaughnessy

“Perhaps the physical and metaphysical are most perfectly one in a woman’s desire to have a child. Jennifer K. Sweeney’s Little Spells makes a stunningly powerful lyric journey into the realm of this desire in poems that engage language, image, myth, medicine, fairy tale and potion as tickets to the depths. She is a poet wooed by the abstraction of transformation and she finds for it a local habitation in the figure of the egg: chicken, ostrich, loon, rotten and that most remarkable totem of all, the human egg as the source of us all. At the level of image, line and vision, this book resounds with ‘the terrible artistry of so fierce a care.’”

—Alison Hawthorne Deming

“Jennifer K. Sweeney’s Little Spells carries us into one of the most primal of human experiences, the longing for a child. Through an abundance of strange and resonant images, we are taken into the paired states of desire and disappointment, bounty and emptiness, loss and return. Drawing on myths and fairy tales, stories of ancient remedies and witch’s brews, Sweeney joins the personal with the archetypal, shaping heartfelt, vivid poems. She shows us how even almost unbearable loss carries within it new life, as in these lines: ‘as did my dear friend when her boy was born still, / secretly pumping milk through the spring / so that daily she poured a blue cup / over her garden until the blooms ached through.’”

—Ellen Bass

Stock number:978-1-936970-33-9 Price:$15.00

Cookies Required

You must have session cookies enabled in your web browser before you can add items to your shopping cart. These cookies are not written to your computer's hard drive. They allow your selections to be saved while you shop, and are then deleted when you close your browser or log out of your registered user session.

Web Browsers

This site is designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later and Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or later. Other types of web browsers may work, but some pages may not display correctly in all cases.

Tips for Registered Users

If you are a registered user, your profile information is stored securely for your use in future visits. Use the "My Account" page to keep your information up to date:

Current Address:

Keep your current address and your contact phone numbers up to date.

E-mail and Password:

If your e-mail address changes, be sure to update it so you will receive your order and shipping confirmations. Also, change your password regularly for increased security.

Payment Methods:

If available, you can securely save new payment methods or update existing ones -- for instance, update your credit card expiration date.

Order Tracking & History:

Check the current status of your orders and view past orders.

My Memberships:

Authenticate yourself as a member of a special group. This may allow you to view and purchase products or services available only to members of that group.

Shipping Addresses:

Edit and manage your saved shipping addresses. For instance, you might save your grandma's address under the nickname "Grandma". Then during checkout, you'll be able to select from your list of shipping addresses. Data fields will automatically be filled in for you.

New Issues Poetry and Prose

Shipping Class: standard

Delivery Method Base Charge Per Additional Item Charge
None $0.00 $0.00
Walk-In $0.00 $0.00
US Mail $1.50 $1.00
Canada $10.00 $2.00
International $10.00 $5.00
UPS $5.00 $0.50
Returns accepted for refund (minus shipping) as long as merchandise is in new, salable condition.