Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez — “Examination of Candy, Island Witch”

This poem is part of a project called Salem Songs, which uses 17th century court records of the Salem Witch Trials as a sounding board to uncover the power and violence residing within the language of the legal system. As state-legislated violence, witch hunts were constitutive to the colonial order, reinforcing what was normal and what aberrant. The court records echo with the sounds of embryonic empire. Rather than regarding the witch hunts as historical curiosity or speculating to fill the gaps, Salem Songs considers the court examination as poetic form, a hybrid of legal language and lyric utterance. In Salem Songs, poetry and archive wrestle, shattering these legal documents that act as gravestones and spilling the voices caught therein.


Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez is a Chilean poet, novelist, translator, and text-based artist. They are the author of the poetry chapbook A/An (End of the Line Press) and the novel La Pava (Ediciones Inubicalistas). They teach creative writing at Clark University.