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Beth Phillips Brown

Book of Enchantments

This collection of poems takes enchantment in one form or another as its theme.  While American culture tends to see enchantment as romantic and glamorous, the old stories say that enchantment(s) come in all shapes and sizes, times of life and not all ofthem are necessarily good.  Sometimes a person is born under the influence of an enchantment that has nothing to do with the person on an individual level, but everything to do with the person's family or community or culture.  There may not be much a person can do about some of the enchantments under which he/she was born or labors, but it could help to notice what is happening and to ask questions.  These poems are about enchantments and their consequences as I've observed them.  In putting the manuscript together, I thought of the old herbal and remedy books such as traditional Welsh healers were said to keep.  I thought of each poem as a description of a particular kind of enchantment or, in some cases, the poem as a remedy for an enchantment or creating an enchantment.  
Beth Phillips Brown

Beth Phillips Brown carries her Welsh ancestors' oral tradition of poetry and storytelling through two languages, English and Welsh.  She tells traditional Welsh and other Celtic stories, whether truth or white lie; mythology or history; folktale or other narrative-personal, familial and community; riddle, proverb or ancient triad.  She aspires to the calling of cyfarwydd, the Welsh word for bard and tradition-bearer. and to write in the traditional Welsh poetic form of cynghanedd.

A fluent Welsh speaker, independent teaching artist and a 2002 PCA Folk Arts Performing Traditions fellowship recipient, she is the editor and publisher of Gwasg Cwtsh y Bardd (The Bard's Cupboard Press), a small press with a focus on Welsh and Welsh-American interests.  She lives in the Philadelphia area.  

From the Book

Poem-Making Spell

I (The Instructions)

To make writing magic,
gather things together

(not paper and pen or pencil)
but the ordinary and neglected,
don't forget the forgotten.

Before gathering the objects,
decide on their disposition.


Arrange an altar
in a manner pleasing
to the old gods and goddesses.

Or brew a potion of three drops
in a virgin cauldron.

Or make a prayer on paper.
Carry it to the far woods
where no one can see.
Tie it high in the tallest tree
so it becomes food for the spirits.

Pay attention to everything.
Whatever you see
is a fortuitous portent
of the word magic to come.

Prometheus in the City

The story says
an eagle comes
every day
and eats my liver.

Truth is:
I pickled it myself.
Once I understood
there was no way out,
what else could I do?

Now I live in the city
and my woman is a cat,
opening every overnight package
brought to the house.

That eagle and the gods
just won't
leave me alone.

Book of Enchantments
is a 28 page hand-sewn chapbook  - $7.00



To order through mail click here.