Annie Finch was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1956. Her mother was a poet and doll-artist, her father a scholar of philosophy and religion. She studied poetry and poetry-writing at Yale, verse-drama with Ntozake Shange at the University of Houston 's graduate creative writing program, and earned a Ph.D in English and American Literature from Stanford University. Her books of poetry include Calendars (Tupelo, 2003), shortlisted for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award; Eve (Story Line, 1997); The Encyclopedia of Scotland (Salt, 2004); and a translation of the Complete Poems of Louise Labé (University of Chicago Press, 2006). Finch's writings developing her ideas about poetry have been collected in The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2005). She has also edited several ground-breaking, popular anthologies including An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (coedited with Kathrine Varnes, Univ. of Michigan Press, 2002) and A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women (Story Line,1994). In 1997 she founded WOM-PO, a national listserv devoted to discussion of women’s poetry.
Numerous anthologies and textbooks include Finch’s work, and her poems have been
featured in media outlets from Voice of America to HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.
Musical or dance performances inspired by her poetry have been performed at venues
including the Spoleto Festival, Lawrence Conservatory, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is also the author of two opera
librettos, “Lily Among the Goddesses” and “Marina,” based on the life of Russian poet
Marina Tsvetaeva, which premiered at American Opera Projects in New York.
A practicing Wiccan, Finch's poetry is inspired largely by her relations with the natural world, especially the landscapes of Maine. The forms of Finch's poems are almost always complex and musical; their themes draw upon earth-centered spirituality, myth, sex, and childbirth. Uniting all of her work is a conception of poetry as essentially incantatory, performative, speaking to the body as much as to the mind. Annie Finch has taught at a number of universities and now directs the Stonecoast Masters of Fine Arts program in creative writing at the University of Southern Maine.