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 LabÃ© (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 womenâ€™s poetry.
Numerous anthologies and textbooks include Finchâ€™s work, and her poems have been
featured in media outlets from Voice of America to HBOâ€™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 Yorkâ€™s Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is also the author of two opera
librettos, â€œLily Among the Goddessesâ€ and â€œMarina,â€ 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.