And With Thy Spirit

And With Thy Spirit

 

By April Bulmer

 

ISBN: 978-1-927725-36-8

Trade Paperback: 81 pages

Publication Date: April 1, 2016

Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95

 

In her new book of poetry And With Thy Spirit, award-winning writer April Bulmer claims we have passed this way before. Firmly committed to the concept of reincarnation, the Eastern religious or philosophical belief that the soul begins a life after biological death in a new body (human, animal, or spiritual), her poems are visions of her feminine roots firmly buried in the fertile soil of her soul.

The book reflects the lives of 15 women and their various ethnic and religious backgrounds. It begins with her current incarnation as April and her complex relationship with her father which she believes is mired in the damp earth of earlier days. Psychoanalysts and hypnotherapists sometimes suggest that we travel in karmic groups and affect each other’s destiny life after life as our paths cross.

After her father died in 2001, April imagined he was ill at first, his eyes “sick and rheumy” and his spiritual body in need of medicine and the comfort of nurses and women. But there are moments of peace in her poems when she imagines he sleeps with blankets in the afterlife and is “warm to dream,” his former troubled mind “an aura of evergreen.”

While April is concerned with her father, Bernadette is mother-centered and focused on feminine issues. She prays for mums “their shades/ their suns.” For her mother “will die like a blossom” and “her stem will lean/ into light/ though her roots/ will wither in the dim,” she says.

Lucille Sky, a contemporary Native woman, lives on the Grand River in western Ontario. It speaks to her of people kneeling at its bank “washing the fish/ from their hands.” She has reverence for the Grand for God “built” it and delivered it “in His great Arms,” she says. Lucille is also devoted to her lover whose medicines are a “musk” on her skin but who, at night, is “shiver-and-gone,“ though he prays for her, kneeling “upon cut wheat/ a temple in chanting rain.”

Elizabeth, however, is Roman Catholic and identifies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary calls to her from a Miracle Site on the Saskatchewan prairie. But Elizabeth also suffers from mood swings and in a later poem “Mania” her eyes are like “swollen fish/ drowned and risen.” Fortunately, she finds relief in Mary, who is “lined with herbs, potions/and remedies,” like a medicine woman.

Elvira focuses on the Goddess, a celestial deity who plays the moon and strikes “it with the palms of her white hands.” Great-with-child, Elvira imagines her daughter will “bloom/ in the sun” and that her hands will “open like buds.”

Lucinda, Reader of Dreams, blossoms “among the shadows/ of a full moon/ on a chill month.” She identifies with the Dream Maker his “patterns and glue.”

Lily, however, is Chinese and concerned with her mother, who has recently passed, and who “is the fabric/ of silk.”

Miriam lives in Israel and experiences God as uncomfortably silent. He speaks “the language of flowers/ their quiet songs.”

Maria is haunted by ghosts “their thin clothes/ smell like the breeze” and desires a child who will hatch like a dove from her “cage of frail bone.”

Cora lived in Greece and was murdered by her lover before the gods, their holy feet. The tortured lovers meet again in a place by a river where she dreams “his hands/ and a skein of rope.”

Then, we hear the voice of Daughter of the Moon, an early Native woman, whose shadow stretches across shadows, “all that blue.”

 

Recent Praise
Karen Massey, poetKaren Massey, poet
And With Thy Spirit - April Bulmer's poems are rich and elegant evocations; spare songs of loss and love, spirit and ritual, women and myth, that move with control and music, attuned to both rhythm and the sound of their diction (“like herons balanced on wings and ancient songs”). Throughout is an intriguing contrast and tension between what and how these poem reveal--and simultaneously conceal--in their lush language and images, and precision.

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Marni Norwich, writer and poetMarni Norwich, writer and poet
In And With Thy Spirit, April Bulmer’s singular and distinguished voice burns a trail through history both personal and universal. Each poem is a wild and precious journey unto itself, the collection a mystical and compelling drive through time and memory. Language is fresh and supple under April’s command, ballasted at once with a surgical exactitude. Themes revolve around women’s lives, humanity’s timeless connection to the earth, the omnipresence of the sacred. Women’s biological ...

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Linda Foster, Librarian at Idea ExchangeLinda Foster, Librarian at Idea Exchange
April Bulmer’s poems have a spiritual translucency that belies their pithy lines and plain words. Her poems are easily read, but they should be read slowly, so the meaning can be savoured.

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Andreas Gripp, poetAndreas Gripp, poet
, April Bulmer’s latest collection of poems, And With Thy Spirit, treads gently amid visions from past events in the author’s present life as well as previous, indigenous incarnations with sublime, ethereal language and a weaving of the spiritual/ corporeal. Freshly explored feelings, familial interaction and dialogue, prayer, and corresponding images from the natural and supernatural worlds are presented in Bulmer’s reverent narrative and feminist Christology, that, in its depth, clarity and accessible voice, ...

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Keith Thompson, Business Advisor, Employment Services, LutherwoodKeith Thompson, Business Advisor, Employment Services, Lutherwood
Reading Ms. Bulmer’s poetry in And With Thy Spirit is very much like holding an exquisite wood carving in my hand. I marvel at the mind which can craft words like a master carver crafts a work of art. Each fresh look reveals more and more about the artist as well as the subject. I am in awe!

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Lee-Ann MacKenzie, writerLee-Ann MacKenzie, writer
For those of us driven by dreams and imagery, where the veil between worlds constantly shifts April’s poetry is a door. Her books sit on my bedside table and her words, the last I read before sleep, conjure the seen and the unseen, while the fuller meaning, images that sail back to her, wash over me like a far-off dream.

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Jack Livesley, Writer, Teacher and Former TV Host and ProducerJack Livesley, Writer, Teacher and Former TV Host and Producer
I have long been a fan of April Bulmer’s poetry. In it we join April in her ongoing search of the why of her beliefs. Her readers are invited to take part in her journey. And it is a vivid, image-filled and beautiful trip.As in her previous collections, April’s poems are threaded with vivid and moving imagery.Reading April Bulmer’s poetry is a rewarding experience. She is a poet and person worth knowing.Read, enjoy and ...

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Lee Anne Johnston, author of Seemly JusticeLee Anne Johnston, author of Seemly Justice
I was introduced to April Bulmer’s poetry eight years ago. When I first heard her read aloud, I was gob smacked by the audacious originality of her work. Who else but April would dedicate a book of poetry about reincarnation and featuring Jesus to her dog Lichee, “her sweet Oriental soul? Who else but April could make this seem entirely natural and right, really, the only way?Do not read this book expecting to be ...

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I.B. Iskov, Founder, The Ontario Poetry SocietyI.B. Iskov, Founder, The Ontario Poetry Society
April Bulmer’s deeply moving and serious poems take the reader on a theological journey of resurrection and redemption where her instinctively divine creativity culminates in exciting and profound imagery from Native beginnings to convents and churches. Banal passion and desire are skilfully exposed with courage and sagacity. These feminine poems are not for the weak of heart…but the poet is mindful that God is always watching…

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Katherine L. Gordon, Poet, Publisher, Editor, Judge and ReviewerKatherine L. Gordon, Poet, Publisher, Editor, Judge and Reviewer
And With Thy Spirit - A book to jolt you from the comfortable edges and spiritual inertia of this hugely selfish and somewhat shallow generation into the deep and heady seas of vision. A welcome philosophy for the famished soul to make sense of pain, life, death and rapture. This book by April Bulmer is a landmark of literature to cherish and reference as we evolve from static views into a discovery of our ...

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April Bulmer

April Bulmer

April Bulmer is a Canadian poet who has won dozens of national and international awards for her work. And With Thy Spirit is her eighth book of poetry.