NIGHT HAG by Amy Baskin
NIGHT HAG speaks of femininity through the eternal voice of Lilith, the first woman. NIGHT HAG is an exploration of yin strength and autonomy of body, heart, and mind. NIGHT HAG invites readers to consider distinctions between selfishness and self-care.
Publication Date: April 11, 2023
Advance Praise for NIGHT HAG
Amy Baskin’s mythologically-infused Night Hag set my loins on fire with empowered carnal eroticism and righteous anger personified through the voice of Lilith, the first woman who refused to succumb to the wills of man. “God…made Adam a father/of a child he had no say in/ then god told Adam/have your way with her/this unasked-for creation/not to raise her but/infuse her with/more life/in my image/time and time again.” In light of the overturning of Roe, these poems harken a source power pulling from a deep well of womb rage, joined with a primal interrogation of the generational traumas and violence against the female body— Lilith, juxtaposed with women today, denying these forced-upon seeds, this oppression. “When I’m naked here in public, you can’t beat me…You emerged from my womb. I am your crucible…I sit before you, legs spread, masked, reminding you of your humble beginnings.”
--Kai Coggin, author of Mining for Stardust, Incandescent, and Wingspan. Host of Wednesday Night Poetry.
Dark and audacious. Outraged and outrageous. Fearless and iconoclastic. If Lilith were given a microphone and the spotlight, this is the voice we’d expect. And in her collection Night Hag, Amy Baskin delivers exactly that. In music-rich lyric poems, Baskin turns this pre-Eve, primordial woman loose so she can adamantly proclaim that “to love does not mean / to obey.” Speaking her mind in both Edenic and contemporary times, this ageless proto-female strives to better our fraught and ineffably challenging world by leading us with feminist wisdom, with “the compass of the womb.”
—Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita
In Amy Baskin’s Night Hag, the poet examines, in the most beautiful way, the mythological Lilith. These poems are a perfect elixir for surviving in these times. The images will indeed “grab you by the scruff of the neck”. There could not be a more perfect time for this book, as we continue the long and worthwhile battle for women’s rights. In this journey of pages, you will find minerals and molecules, caves, burnt rubber on the driveway, a supernova, bicycles and cosmos and a teapot still on the table. This book will feed the soul and remind us, in exquisite language, that our body is “a temple laden with offerings”.
—Connie Post, Author of Floodwater (winner of the Lyrebird Award) and Prime Meridian (International Book Awards Finalist)
Amy Baskin writes with intensity and passion. Her poems reach into your chest, squeezing until you feel like you can’t breathe. In Night Hag, she takes the mythic figure of Lilith and views the character in modern settings—a timely expression of outrage at the treatment of women in a society that claims to care but often doesn’t. Baskin does this masterfully without condescension, exploring both beauty and dread in the world today, all through the eyes of someone filled with past trauma and, yet, a kind of love for that same world. This is a wonderful book, both startling and refreshing.
—Ace Boggess, Author of Escape Envy and I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So
In her astonishing collection Night Hag, Amy Baskin turns the mythical Lilith into an unmanageable force who refuses be tamed. In a strong, self-possessed voice, Baskin’s first woman unabashedly tells her husband Adam, to love does not mean to obey./ You never understood this. She proclaims her right to control her own body: when I feel his child kick within me, I don’t want it. She describes herself to a new lover: you think I’m a known quantity/you couldn’t be more wrong. With dazzling leaps of imagination, Baskin creates a character who couldn’t be more right for this historical moment. Whether exploring the world beyond the garden, linking arms with mothers at a protest, or bumping into Adam and Eve in grocery aisles, this reincarnated Lilith is a playful, sensual, outspoken woman who, in poem after poem, challenges the mind as she engages the heart. And isn’t this what genuine poetry strives to do? Cheers to Baskin and Night Hag for this stunning collection. This is, I hope, the first of many more to come.
--Carolyn Martin, Ph.D., Poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.