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Practically Magic by Liz Wride: A Review of Stories She Tells by Hadinet Tekie

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

A hand waving a wand over two candles.

If I was asked to give a two-sentence review of Hadinet Tekie’s debut poetry collection, Stories She Tells; I’d use her words, from the poem Ritorna:

Like Magic

Created from Nothing.

Of course, Tekie’s work isn’t actually “created from nothing.” No artist’s work is – but great artists make their work appear that way. There is a depth-of-feeling behind Tekie’s poetry (the collection is dedicated to her late mother, Leghesa Mascio), but a lightness-of-touch; which means that through the course of some 75 poems, Tekie weaves a spell; a panorama on love, loss and ultimately, hope.

Tekie’s work is some twenty-years in the making. An honorary Welsh-Woman, Tekie came to Wales to study Italian (a language she speaks fluently). During nights awake under the Welsh moon, Tekie crafted some of the early lines that would eventually become her debut collection.

Recent years have seen spirituality surge in popularity; with tarot, witchcraft, crystals, horoscopes, manifestation and new-moon rituals trending – the space occupied by established, and ‘baby witches’, alike. Tekie’s collection would be a perfect Grimoire for either, with titles like Spellbound, Bewitched, Enchanting Night, Like Crystals, throughout.

Tekie gives us a thoroughly modern magic. Her work is more divine-feminine meets femme-fatale, than the stuff of pointed-black-witches-hats. In Claws, she sets herself up as love-witch:

My nature is dark when defending

Light when embracing.

I Offer You, is Tekie’s turn at soothsayer:

Starry prediction

Painted in oily hope.

There’s a heavy-dose of moon-magic to be had in Like Crystals:

Moon radiates

Melting malice aside

A world of secrets revealed.

And sometimes, we simply get straight-up spells:

I will melt wax and cover those shiny stones with it

I will throw them deep in your heart and watch them sink.

All of this hinges on a feminine lineage. The divine feminine is evident in Tekie’s opening poem, Thank You, dedicated to, and about, her late mother: “thanks you…for choosing me…your daughter.” Ink sketches (red-and-white flowers - courtesy of Karl) stand in quiet remembrance; while Elle Om’s warrior-women and All-Seeing-Eye-Mystics punctuate the rest of the book. These women are, Ardor, Injuria and Vita, respectively, (taken from the Latin). They translate, as Adore, Injury, and finally, aptly, Life.

In Stories She Tells, Tekie’s technique is to “web a dream”, as she is the “blender between worlds” as she guides us through grief, love, loss, lost-love, pain, rebirth and hope. The final poem is literally called Zest of Hope, where we see light, squeezed not from a lemon, but a tattoo needle.

Tekie’s poetry, to borrow one of her own lines, “speaks in tongues.” Reach for the collection on Valentine’s Day, where Thick Love tells us “my heart will be safe in yours, Like a vault with me as your combination,” or on the new moon, to witness secrets “cascading from the sky, Like crystals.” On Halloween, or any-other day: when your lover-has-left-you, turn to Tekie’s Femme-Fatale magic, that reads like a manifestation: “You will not see me coming, but you’ll not want me to go.”

Once you’ve closed the book, it feels like a veil has been placed between you and Tekie’s world. To rekindle the connection, and step through the door again, I suggest paying attention to the contents page. In so many books, these pages are so overlooked, but Tekie, and her particular brand of magic, makes them essential reading. The order of the poems are a brilliant example of found-poetry, or just inspiration for your next spell.

You can find more of Liz Wride on Twitter.

*The posting of this review with Divinations Magazine is not sponsored or endorsed monetarily in any way.

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