Tag Archives: April Bulmer

Wax and Wane

by April Bulmer
I fall through the mother space
crawl from her on hands and knees.
I live among the mushrooms now:
their soft, moist pleats.
I take one in my teeth
and my eyes are as big as beetles.
A caterpillar like a drop of rain on a leaf.
A mad man so nervous
his cup of tea trembles.
My heart is a deck of cards.
I play the Queen of Hearts.
Her hair the shade of blood.
At night even the moon dreams
it waxes and wanes.
How it swells and shrinks
on currant cake and drugs.
Queen of Hearts

April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. Her work has appeared in many national and international journals including the Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc, Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and the Globe and Mail. She recently placed second in the Trinity College Alumni Fiction Contest and was a judge for the Hamilton Literary Awards

Member News

Monica George, a fifth year composition student at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio set April Bulmer’s poem “The Waist of the Moon” to women’s choir music. It was performed two weeks ago at their Spring Concert.

Thought you might want to have a listen, as it is quite haunting.

Congratulations April and Monica!

Cordelia: Mother Superior

by April Bulmer

“Cordelia: Mother Superior” is an excerpt from April Bulmer’s new book of poetry, Women of the Cloth. It will be published by Black Moss Press in Windsor later this year.

Cordelia: Mother Superior

The moon in its hood
like a beautiful nun.
She prays for light,
her chin heavy
in its bandage.
Her supplication
Catholic and humble.

You worship the moon,
her full blue lips.
Her eyes closed,
though she wages holy war
against the powers of darkness.

Your own prayer is buried
in your heart,
an artery that feeds
your slim body.
Outside, your shadow genuflects.
Mother moon, her vigil.
A host on her tongue.
Her face lit as though by candles
on the high altar

April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. The poem above is an excerpt from her new manuscript Women of the Cloth. Her work has appeared in many national and international journals including the Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc, Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and the Globe and Mail. She recently placed second in the Trinity College Alumni Fiction Contest and was a judge for the Hamilton Literary Awards.


by April Bulmer

Are you a poet suffering from writer’s block malaise? Here’s a quick remedy: take five minutes and write down every word that comes to mind. Then link the ideas and images to create meaning. The result can be a quirky and unique piece.

Here’s a poem I wrote using this method:

Eartha: Indian Bands

My spirits come
in good makeup
and little white gloves
for it is the winter
of mine husband.
I wear bust lace,
but outside
the Natives gather
in buck pants.
They have brought
an offering of blood.

It is true I love him
and he has grown
his hair long
through the seasons.
It is the red of autumn
and of snake.

I have smoked
my gown in fire.
My veil I have hung
from a tree.
It bears the breath
of step dance
and Langdon Lake.

I touch his hand
we eat a pretty cake.

All night, the Indians
cry like virgins,
their voices torn like lace.

Previously published in Tower Poetry Winter Edition 2008-2009

April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. The poem above is an excerpt from her new manuscript Women of the Cloth. Her work has appeared in many national and international journals including the Malahat Review, PRISM international, Arc, Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and the Globe and Mail. She recently placed second in the Trinity College Alumni Fiction Contest and was a judge for the Hamilton Literary Awards.

Member News

Image by digitalart; FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Four members of the CWC will be published in Ascent Aspirations’ latest anthology As One Cradles Pain: An Anthology on Issues Exploring Disorders.

Poetry Prizes
“The Great Illusion” by S. J. White received Ascent Aspirations Second Prize for Poetry.

April Bulmer – “Ward Paint”, “Perennials”, “Petting the Black Dog”
Barbara Lefcourt – “Good Housekeeping”
Diane Attwell Palfrey – “Birthing the Hexenhammer”, “Teratoma”
S. J. White – “The Great Illusion” (2nd Prize), “Mr. Whittaker”

Congratulations to all!

Divinely Inspired

by April Bulmer

Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Before moving to Cambridge, I did graduate work in religious studies at the University of Windsor.  There I studied a pantheon of gods, some of whom are associated with poetry and writing.  Several cultures identify such gods and goddesses and invoke them when they are involved with creative work.  Here I identify some of those deities (as well as a couple of other divine sources), their mythological backgrounds, and their unique interests.

Hermes.   A major player in the pantheon of Greek gods, Hermes is known as a trickster, messenger of the great Zeus, and the guide of the dead into the underworld.  He is identified as the inventor of the Greek written alphabet and thus is the god of writing, as well as speech and dreams.

Apollo. As the Greek god of the sun, Apollo was also a god of music and often depicted with a lyre.  He was also, at times, seen as the protector of poetry, reciting and dance—anything that was associated with the public playing of the lyre.  It is believed that his music was inspirational in developing written work, inspiring the artist to produce thought into a document.

Muses. The Greek muses inspired and protected dance, poetry, writing and dramatic stories.  Today, they are still associated with modern theatre, music, science and research.  The muses are not true gods, but they are the focus of many Greek minds and literary inspiration.  The muse who protects poetry is Kalliope.

Odin. Chief god of Norse mythology, Odin is lord of wisdom, poetry, war, death and magic and is provider of the runic letters.  He is the Norse equivalent of Woden who was honoured in pre-Christian Europe and England.  He is considered sire of many other gods and co-creator of the cosmos and of humans.  It is thought that Odin/Woden may have originated in the Wild Hunt, the traditional mythology of Germanic peoples that tells of thunder storms being developed by the loud gallop of spirits of warriors.  In another story, Odin becomes wise by hanging upside down in the World Tree for nine nights without food or drink, dying from a self-inflicted wound with a spear. There he discovered magic runes and learned nine inspired songs and returned to life with wisdom which is associated with letters.

Sarasvati. In the Rg Veda, one of the early sacred Hindu texts, Sarasvati was the personification of a sacred river that bore her name.  Aryans performed religious rituals on its banks.  As the river-goddess, Sarsvati was associated with power, purity and fertility.  She is recognized as the inventor of the Sanskrit language and as the goddess of wisdom and learning, speech and eloquence.  She is also patron of all arts and sciences.

Devi Sarswati. Hindus also honour Devi Sarswati who is the goddess of knowledge, books, literature, and alphabets.  Each year they celebrate a day in her name.  They pay her respect by not reading any book or engaging in writing.  They believe the goddess, herself, resides in books.  They never touch books or writing material with their feet because they are considered a mean part of the body.  If, by chance, such materials are touched by feet, they hold them to their forehead, as it is considered an honourable place where knowledge resides.

Thoth. Thoth was a moon god in early Egyptian mythology.  He was associated with the sacred bird called the ibis, perhaps because its bill resembled a crescent moon.  As the moon became more significant in the Egyptian religious rituals and its calendar, Thoth became associated with calculation, magic, the organization of time, and writing.  He was the inventor of hieroglyphics and became known as the “Lord of the Holy Words.”  He was also scribe of the gods.  He kept accounts and records of them and the divine archives.  He also recorded the histories of the kings of Egypt.  He wrote their names on the leaves of a sacred tree.

Gabriel.  The Judeo-Christian archangel, Gabriel, is the angel of creative writing and literature.  She aids the writer in beginning the writing process and helps keep thoughts clear while writing.  If one asks for guidance, it is said she works though a person to write divinely-guided thoughts.  She inspires and fuels ambition.  She even helps to get the work published.  If you wish to summon an angel, burn a pink candle.  It is believed that Gabriel and other angels respond to the colour pink.

Sources:  Internet: “Gods of Writing,” by WolfWikis.  “Is there a god or goddess of literature, books, reading, writing, authors, etc.?” Yahoo.

In 2008, Serengeti Press published my book, The Goddess Psalms.  Below is one of the poems from that book that was inspired by my relationship with a divine goddess. 

Psalm 44

The rains came and
the well water
was clean and sweet
for drink,
a covenant of dirt and heaven.
I bury ashes
among old roots
where witches gather
to raise the moon:
arms lifted toward her veil:
crown and torn tulle.
And I bury my prayers
in the cradle of a tree.
Bear water and shadows:
a new mythology.

April Bulmer has published six books and four chapbooks of poetry.  She holds Master’s degrees in creative writing, religious studies and theological studies.  She has been published nationally and internationally in many prestigious journals including Harvard University’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.  In 1998, her second book, The Weight of Wings was nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award for the best book of poetry by a Canadian woman.  She is long-time member of the Cambridge Writers Collective.  She also belongs to Voices Israel, the International Women’s Writing Guild and the League of Canadian Poets.

A “Building Block of Verse”

by April Bulmer

I’m not one for traditional rhyme (though no one would suspect given my choice of birthday cards), but do appreciate assonance in poems.

Image: Ventrilock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is assonance?

Technically speaking it is the repetition of a vowel sound with different consonants, or the same consonant with different vowels in lines of literature or poetry. For example stony and holy or mystery and mastery.

But put simply, it is a resemblance of sounds in syllables or words, especially of vowels. Lake and fake demonstrate the concept of rhyme, whereas lake and fate assonance. Thus, it is also referred to as “vowel rhyme.”

Wikipedia tells us that this internal rhyme within phrases or sentences “serves as one of the building blocks of verse…It is used in (mainly modern) English-language poetry, and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish and the Celtic languages.”

It is characteristic of Emily Dickinson’s verse, as well as the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dylan Thomas.

Assonance is used to emphasize the meanings of words or to create a mood. Examples of assonance are sometimes a challenge to locate in a poem because they can operate subconsciously and are often subtle. The long vowel sounds (“o”) can drag the pace and create a sombre tone, while high sounds (“i”) often accelerate the energy of the piece.

I wrote a poem recently in which I utilized assonance more than any other literary vehicle. The repetition of the long “o” sound is intended to underscore the main character’s mourning over her lost child. She is dramatic and vocal and expresses the visceral ache of her grief as a kind of moan. This sound is juxtaposed against the assonance of the final stanza where a long “e” sound is created beginning with the word “heal.” Here, I wished to summon a kind of female energy. A return to life, a zeal.

Lucille Sky: Temple

I rose like dough.
My breasts like loaves.

But Blessed Virgin
took her in swaddling clothes.

Her voice rose
with the lament of crows,
though she visits in dreams
and in the dim.

I packed a soft valise:
flannel blankets, a tortoise comb,
the scent of my shadow–
an offering of sage and tobacco.

My heart the slow root
of sumac.
The seasons of woman-blood:
reap and sow.

I am a half-breed
from the lake’s
wide hip.
I plait my hair,
anoint with the breath
of bonfire
my lobes.

Though the Amen Corner
is the place I heal.
My womb a temple
of ripening fruit,
healthy as an apple.
Red and white root.
Core of flesh and seed
and peel.

April Bulmer

poem written with support from

April Bulmer has published six books of poetry. The most recent is entitled The Goddess Psalms (Serengeti Press, 2008). She has graduate degrees in creative writing, religious studies and theological studies and often writes about issues pertaining to women and spirituality. April received Ontario Arts Council funding through Black Moss Press in Windsor for her new manuscript “Temples.” She is grateful for this support. Contact her at aprilb (at) golden.net