Singular and distinguished voice

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 plight and sensuous experience is intimately linked with the essence and rhythm of the planet. The sun “throbs like a womb,” the speaker is “from the lake’s wide hip,” and a speaker’s breasts are “tender buds” that “never bloomed.”

Themes of smoke, blood and women’s experience of lovemaking weave like plumes throughout. In “Shiver and Gone,” “You smelled/ of blood/ and smoke/ My breath/ on your palms.” In “Smoke,” “A plume of smoke rises/ above your heavy head./ It passes through me/ like a curse.” In “Wild Bird,” “At night, you made love to me/ with your red hands./ We were shadows against/ the tepee: our bodies bucking.”

Notably, April’s’ alchemical capacity to render heartbreak in a phrase and to distil story to metaphor is demonstrated to effect throughout her book. It is well-represented in these breathtaking lines from “Rain Dance:” “When you entered me/ under a big sky/ I wailed/ and the yellow canola/ bruised beneath our weight./ You smelled of smoke/ and poetry/ but you did not love me.

April has a magician’s touch with language, and this new work glows with the otherworldly essence by which it was conceived. Once again, she has succeeded with this collection to enter into the core of our individual and collective lives and apply the very particular light of her spirit to brighten our paths.

- Marni Norwich, writer and poet