Meet the Poets – Annie Hex & Jen May

Meet Annie Hex, The Poet Witch

Annie Hex, The Poet Witch

She is an improvisational spoken word poet and witch. She fuses spoken word with music to give you something sour and honest. A style all her own. 

She opened the Hex Poetry Apothecary in an effort to get what she calls her poetry experiences into the hands of those who need them most. Each experience focuses on crafting the environment in which you experience poetry whether her books come smelling of lavender or if poems come tied to roses or in potion bottles. 

For poetry experiences, every detail matters & setting is everything. The goal of her apothecary is to share her magic and she believes it always makes it to exactly who needs it the most.

Annie believes in surprising people with poetry. Last year, she went on her kickstarter funded Tour of Joy where she gifted over 300 love poems tied to roses to strangers throughout the country. 

She wears her words and politics loudly and encourages you to do the same. She believes poetry shouldn’t sugarcoat anything and that truth should be the one thing that brings us together in this mess.

Annie’s process for this collaboration “As It Happens”

Learn more about Annie at

Meet Jen May, Poet Warrior

Jen May, poet warrior

Jen May is a poet warrior. She’s a domestic violence survivor of the gun in the closet. She’s a former police officer, who refused to write tickets. She’s a champion mom, raising activist children. Jen May is a force and her poetry pulls no punches. Her motto is,”Be scared and do it anyway.” 

Jen May is a founding member of Open Sky Poets and is always up for shenanigans with the Atrocious Poets of Woodstock, IL. She has been published in the Journal of Modern Poetry 19: Poems of Protest, and in the online literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters. Her most recent book, Battle Cry, will make you pause to catch your breath between poems. May collaborates with local poet Annie Hex to curate their zine Lonely Middle Finger. You can also find her co-hosting virtual workshops with fellow poet Eric Bodewell and the Drink & Draft Poetry Roadshow.

Look for her next work, Midnight Birdsong, coming soon.

Jen’s process for this collaboration “As It Happens”

More process images from Annie Hex:

Annie’s closet

Art is complete

I have completed the art for the Atrocious Poet collaboration.

I constructed, painted and test hung the the installation in my studio.

This video is a simulation of the installation to be installed in the small vault at the Old CourtHouse Arts Center:

The poets will be adding content to this Blog. It is our intent to share our process with you. we are excited to get all the pieces together and installed for those that are able to go and visit this in person. For those that cannot we are making every attempt to give you the experience of the collaboration of art, poetry and the process.

music by Vicki Logan:

The middle of the art project

pencil sketch of silver detail position on 3 panels
silver details added
adding color
test hanging
The vault is 7′ deep (side walls) x 5′ 10″ wide (back wall) x 7′ 6″ high (ceiling).
The canvases are 7′ high x 6′ wide.
I have simulated the vault shape in my studio which has a ceiling height the same as the vault.

The original concept included a structure in the center of the vault, but it adds a level of unnecessary complexity and structure (this is not what the final 3D piece would look like, but I can tell already it will not work for this installation).
The vault actually serves as a cube-like structure – circular elements hanging from the ceiling will work better than from the 3D piece.
Often doing an installation requires flexibility and change – not unlike the pandemic!
Testing the lighting – this is just a quick test to help determine final detail painting and decide if the lights will be synced or random

So I am coming into the final stages of the art for this poet/artist collaboration –
I have:

  • almost completed the 3 paintings that will be on the walls of the vault
  • refined the concept for the structure / 3D piece – it will no longer be a stand alone cube-like structure with circles hanging from it, but the circles will hang from the ceiling
  • begun testing lighting

My next steps are:

  • create the 3-D art
  • finalize the painting
  • do further lighting testing
  • order a piece of clear plexiglass to install on the vault door as a barrier – visitors will not be allowed in the vault for conceptual as well as practical reasons:
    1. the space is small and not well ventilated so virus could build up
    2. the small space might be impractical to move around in and the light bars could be tripped on
    3. the installation will be one that will be observed not walked into although the viewer may want to – the unavailability of the space may make it more desirable OR easier to walk by

the beginning of the collaboration

As Covid19 has turned my world upside down it has been challenging to begin this project. We, myself and the poets have had some meetings, some ZOOM meetings and exchanged some emails.

Our physical exhibit was moved from October to November at The Old CourtHouse Arts Center. Now, I can’t say that I am not grateful for the extra time, but it speaks to the uncertainty of our times and the need to be flexible and patient. We have been moved to another gallery, which gives us the opportunity to have more space. I have requested the small vault space. I have a vision of my art installation in that space. But, again uncertainty and patience to know if I will actually have that space.

Here are my beginning sketches exploring my ideas – how the art installation evolves – some ideas are rejected, revisited, expanded on and/or refined:

considering a wooden structure with hanging art on opaque and transparent panels with LED color changing light … this would be heavy, difficult to assemble on-sight … I will not go in buildings, so I need something simple and easy to install … but, I can employ some of the concepts …
considering animation/video TV within the structure …
sketching ideas
perhaps the structure could be smaller and made of PVC pipe … pre-assembled and a size easy to carry … triangles?
planning sketches
considering the possibility of triangle structure maybe with rectangles … multiple? …
connect structures with dowel rods … would probably have to be assembled on site ??? … integrate a circular wire element with a clear plastic rectangle with a painted figure on it …
considering single triangle structure with holes and lit interiorly …
exploring singular or multiple clear panels …
beginning to plan the figurative images
a more comprehensive view of the 3D shape with possible paintings on wall or TV video on the wall

So, I will proceed with my concept and build in alternative scenarios. Not unlike our social quarantine status this art project is fluid. Art installations by their nature need to adapt to the situation, the space and the time.

these are the PVC pipes, joiners and cutting tool that I will use for the 3D part of the project. Some of the joiners are waiting to be opened from my shipment to make sure they are free of Covid – today’s reality!
three canvases roughly 7 feet x 6 feet for the far wall and left and right wall of the vault … (if I get the vault) … (if not, perhaps one canvas will be in the exhibit)
painting the third canvas …
first layer complete

So I have begun:

  • conceptualized with sketches
  • gathered materials
  • cut canvases
  • painted the first layer of silver on the canvas

My next steps:

  • sketch a basic layout of the paintings
  • begin the second phase of painting the canvases
  • start building the structure