A Hornbook for Witches: Poems of Fantasy is a collection of poems by Leah Bodine Drake. It was released in 1950, and was the author’s first book and her only collection published by Arkham House. It was released in an edition of 553 copies, of which 300 were given to the author, making this one of the rarest books published by Arkham House. The jacket was the work of Frank Utpatel. The volume is dedicated to Drake’s ancestor Jean Bodin “who also concerned himself with witches.”
New York Times reviewer Orville Prescott described Drake as “a poet who writes in conventional rhyme schemes about very unconventional subjects” and noted that “for the most part Miss Drake goes her own original and fanciful way. Her poems may not be contributions to the great art of poetry, but they are rather fun in a grisly fashion.” Boucher and McComas wrote that the collection would appeal “to devotees of supernatural verse (or of attractive book-making).”
An audiobook by the same name was released in 1976, read by Vincent Price. It contains four poems by Drake (“A Hornbook for Witches”, “Witches on the Heath”, “‘All Saints Eve”, and “The Ballad of the Jabberwock”) as well as other material. The audio was originally released as both LP and on cassette (by Caedmon TC-1497).
Here we include recordings of the Vincent Price album on YouTube & Spotify. Happy Halloween!