Twenty individuals were executed and more than 150 imprisoned. The historical body of evidence that remains from the Salem witch trials of 1692 touched the hands, mind, and imagination of poet Nicole Cooley, compelling her to seek entry to an inaccessible past of lies. The Afflicted Girls, so named after the young women who claimed to be victims of witchcraft, spans the centuries to give voice to those both audible and silent on history's pages--accusers and accused of several kinds: wife and husband, servant and master, congregant and minister, and, not least, "bewitched" and "witch." Piercing, enchanting, Cooley's poems form a remarkable narrative, one that displays the enormous cultural power the Salem witch trials retain in twenty-first-century America
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