A brother, gluttonous and with barbed hands.
A birth mother, starving and desperate.
An unbirth mother, cradling death in a confectionary cottage.
A forest, hungry.
Follow the breadcrumbs into [re]construction of the necromancer, Hannah V Warren’s darkly evolved retelling of Hansel and Gretel. The ground hums. The forest speaks. And Gretel must master death to survive in a candy house haunted by bones and the smell of burnt hair. She learns to prepare focaccia baked with her brother’s liver and to gather deathcap to grow in his empty ribcage. These poems exist in the aftermath of sexual assault and neglect, mortality haunts the outskirts of every line. Each poem serves as a step toward the necromancy of some uncertain and transforming version of Gretel, who must claw her way out of the forest by poison, bone, and brew. If she escapes, the only beast still to face will be whatever is left of herself under the scars and scales. The fantastical and the grotesque twine together indistinguishably in this collection about exhuming the cruelest depths of trauma and coming out the other side alone, with the weight of the dead on your hipbones.
[re]construction of the necromancer was the winner of the 2019 Chapbook Contest.
“[re]construction of the necromancer is witchy and dangerous, a bildungsroman turned on its ear. Warren reinvents a Gretel who needs no Hansel, who grows strong and wild, more forest than monster, more witch than woman. With striking and enchanting precision, each poem transforms and then haunts the body, drawing us deeper into the woods to ask who is the real monster in the story.”
-Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, author of Hour of the Ox and 2019 contest judge