Reviews


Praise for Out of Darkness, Light by April Bulmer,
Hidden Book Press, 2018
John B. Lee Signature Series

Imagine the fertile womb, the goddess of river and earth, the moonlight and menses of prayer, the dimming of darkness with light, the flowering of candle in flame, the trimmed wick and the softening wax of its burning, the communion of alluvial soil and bursting seed, the flowing of healing waters, the slaking of spiritual thirst, the blooming of life and the crossing of shadows and shades of the grave and you have entered the world of Bulmer’s lovely metaphysical poetry where the metaphysics are simplified by the clarity of luminous lines. And so in these poems we experience that blessing. We share in the light. In the words of her final poem “…in the morning/ …the sun/ … Goddess, her bright reflection: / her soft, pierced ears.” And we experience the consolation of that light. We share in its blessing.

     John B. Lee
Poet Laureate of the city of Brantford in perpetuity
Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life 
Poet Laureate of the CCLA (Canada Cuba Literary Alliance)


So much of woman, her qualities, desires, special attributes, has been hidden in cultural darkness, long stifled by dogma and prejudice. This light that April Bulmer brings to us from that long Tenebrae rises to a sanctified space where the feminine soul can at last inhabit and display. April’s vision of a Congregation of Women radiates, surfacing in powers of light intrinsic to femininity, to affect all the conditions of life we struggle with: “Rooted in earth and stretching toward the brilliance of sun and moon,” she writes.

Seemingly humble badges of womankind throughout time as her basins, ladles and her cloths, all become magic in their power of use. Individual voices of this fictional congregation speak to the absolute bone and blood of love and sacrifice, the daily underlying truths of physical and spiritual mating: “the red fruit” of our epic celebration of “being” and “creating.”

There is worship here that opens body as well as spirit to the fundamental marvel of union we experience but seldom express. Mother Scarlett, the envisioned leader, has a many-layered meaning of name. Her teachings would have been called “Scarlet Woman” in many a tale from times past, such as Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. The names of women of the Congregation are iconic in their application, as is Elle, page 22: “We celebrate on the new moon/ stems and buds. Roots new to faith.” Men and women together will celebrate this fresh and earthy wisdom of the power of women in life: “her seasons/ her cycles/ her rhythm.” April brings these teachings out of that hidden time into the modern era where age-old practices and beliefs become powerful and relevant. All the customs of women crystalize in radiant cameos. Cloths, always associated with the tasks of women, that heal, console, soften, wrap and comfort, appear throughout the verses in their impactful ancient use.

Character June, page 63, reveals a Roman cameo of history and memory: “and fish sauce we stir/ in jars of clay,” reminds us that this womanly task was one of the prides of Empire, Rome considering its special fish-sauce the best in the world. It is up to the reader to explore these gems of knowledge in poetry that appear light and spare but are really heavy with meaning and fat with knowledge. The poems, so light and lyrical on the page, are filled with an amazing depth of historical gleanings, a harvest of image and information. All have the earth and water element flowing through them, our beginnings in water, our return to earth, our deep intuitive connection to them. It is a breath-taking, mind nourishing experience to take in these poems that dare to display the truths seldom spoken, our heart-shaking need of each other on our earth, and return back into it. It is an unforgettable innovation in a poetry of faith and light, told in spare, hauntingly beautiful dramatic lines: “We will anoint/ her girl/ with river and moon.

You will re-read and discover connections surprisingly fresh and immediate, out of your core of being and into this welcome new light. Brooke page 12: “My soul rose: new stem from old root.” This first book of the John B. Lee Signature Series is a brilliant choice for its beauty, innovations and powerful message. A fine Canadian classic. It anticipates those that might follow.

      Katherine L. Gordon
Poet, Publisher, Author, Judge,
Literary Critic and Reviewer.


Praise for And With Thy Spirit by April Bulmer,
Hidden Brook Press, 2016

April Bulmer’s talent as a poet has endowed her with a fine eye for telling detail and for startling imagery that convey sparingly and wonderfully her quest…This book is very much the work of a mature artist who knows her métier, who is gifted in her telling and brave with honesty.

      Blaine Marchand
Poet


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.

      Jack Livesley
Former Writer, Teacher, TV Host and Producer


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 ….

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.

     Marn Norwich
Writer, Teacher and Poet


Deeply emotive and personal, April Bulmer’s latest collection of poems, And With Thy Spirit, treads gently amid visons of 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, continues to elevate her writing among those of the very best that Canada offers in 21st century poetry.

    Andreas Gripp
Poet, Publisher


Praise for The Weight of Wings by April Bulmer, 
Trout Lily Press, 1997

The Weight of Wings by April Bulmer of Cambridge is a soft-cover book delicately printed with a feather caught among grasses… This is an artifact, a carefully crafted book, an art form all but forgotten, sculptural.

     Judith Miller
Professor
Kitchener-Waterloo Record


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 and her words, the last I read before sleep, conjure the seen and unseen …

     Lee-Ann MacKenzie
Writer


Praise for Early Books

April Bulmer creates a tense landscape of nature and grace, an unsettled, haunted beauty of spirit, flesh and blood.

     Mary Ann Mulhern
Poet Laureate of Windsor
Review of Women of the Cloth, April Bulmer, Black Moss Press, 2013


If great poems are sometimes a conversation with the soul, then these fully imagined poems reveal what the soul has to say when the poet is listening …  In that gender is often essential to our way of seeing, I am most grateful for the luminous feminine visionary source of the insights made available by the presence of April Bulmer’s poetry in my library. 

    John B. Lee
Poet Laureate of the city of Brantford in perpetuity
Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life 
Poet Laureate of the CCLA (Canada Cuba Literary Alliance)
Review of Women of the Cloth


Although she uses spare language and free form, Bulmer’s poems show a great command of language and imagery ….  Even the most banal of events described … are infused with a sense of ritual and purpose.

    Eric Volmers
The Cambridge Reporter
Review of HIM, April Bulmer, Black Moss Press, 1999


We see the world through the all-knowing eyes of a candid, uncompromising child. The images are physical, stark, and unforgettable.

   P.K. Page
Poet, Winner of the Governor General’s Award
Review of A Salve For Every Sore, April Bulmer, Cormorant Books, 1991

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