Spanning centuries, The Hammer of Witches reaches from present-day urban dystopias and the unlikely enchantments that they harbour, to medieval Norway, where the first Christian king waged war on the country's gender-nonconforming wizards. Macabre imagery, speculative themes, and everyday mysticism blur the distinction between the real and the unreal, challenging modern concepts of beauty, power, and fear.
In her first full-length collection, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back weaves together the magical and the monstrous, the sacred and the profane, to make sense of a world where primeval forests are clear-cut to build parking lots, and where it often seems that the gods have all gone to live behind the veil. The Hammer of Witches was completed with the help of funding from the Ontario Arts Council's Writers' Reserve program.
Kelly Rose Pflug-Back's fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in a variety of publications and anthologies, such as Counterpunch, Huffington Post, Fifth Estate magazine, This Magazine, Briarpatch, Imaginarium Speculative Fiction, The Vancouver Media Co-op, CrimethInc and more, and her work has received awards and nominations from the Rhysling Foundation, the P.K. Page Irwin Foundation, and the Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Pflug-Back holds a Bachelors in Human Rights and Human Diversity from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Masters in Development Studies from York University, where she studied the relationship between resource extraction and colonialism. Her poetry chapbook, These Burning Streets, was published with Combustion Press in 2012. Pflug-Back lives in Toronto.
"The Hammer of Witches revels in the grim beauty of modern fables and primordial desires. Kelly Rose Pflug-Back conjures poems with imagery like fine silver filigree--fishbone combs, creaking whale's ribs, and the distant hum of Prince's 'Purple Rain.' This book is a hiding spot you want to crawl into with all your beloved and broken bits." --Adèle Barclay, award-winning author of If I Were in a Cage I'd Reach Out for You and Renaissance Normcore