Saturday, 30 April 2016

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Harmonia Press

If you're looking for my poetry books and updates, you can find them on my publisher's website ...


please click on the broadside above for the larger version

April Bulmer's latest launching on Hidden Brook

Deeply emotive and personal, 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, continues to elevate her writing among those of the very best that Canada offers in 21st-century poetry.   

– Andreas Gripp

April Bulmer

Spring Fever

That season I opened
like the earth.
My hair long and loose.
Teepee warm with
smoke and herb.
My feet wet with Mother dirt.
I danced to the drum of my heart.
My man on the hunt
quick as bird.
I dreamt of wolf.
She brought pups
to the tent, moist with blood
and the moon came too.
Her light opened like a ragged bloom.
My shadow stretched across shadows
all that blue.

taken from And With Thy Spirit 
©2016 April Bulmer

If you are in the Toronto area on Sunday May 22nd ...

Meeting Boris

Bringing out an oldie as Poetry Month winds down ...
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Remembering Vic Elias: 10 years later

A great influence on me and my poetic journey came from Chicago-born, London Ontario poet Vic Elias. A much-beloved Professor of Applied Mathematics at Western University, Vic was also the author of 4 wonderful books of poetry. His poems also appeared throughout the years in various literary journals including locally-published Afterthoughts (which ran from 1994 through 2000). His reading style was candid and engaging, funny and poignant. He was also a very thoughtful and kind human being. He passed away as a result of cancer back in the Spring of 2006.

On the Transmigration of the Soul
of a Jewish Child

Every night
my Nathan cries out,
a two-year-old
strangling in a dream
I cannot wake him fully
He screams with open eyes,
his legs a fury of kicks into the wall

In my dreams of Warsaw, 1943,
I hold a pillow to his face until the wall
is untroubled by his feet

©1998 Vic Elias
published in Afterthoughts XII

Junior-Congregation Job

It's all tidied up by the end:
new children, restored health, doubled riches
vindication from unctuous comforters
and (where was I when the world was made?) 
a verbose whirlwind whose adamance betrays
a guilty conscience

outside this narrative
are neglected graves

a continent whose house dust
is human ash. On Yom Kippur

I read the storybook version of Job
to newer Jewish children

wishing for hot coals
to touch my lips

©2004 Vic Elias

Elena's Mother

She lies 
voluptuous in satin
no Mona Lisa cupidity
playing upon her lips

The priest's untamed beard
and shoulder-length hair
predate any Summer of Love
predate praesidium and Soviet and cell
He intones the ancient Slavic words
to ease this soul's passage to Christ
leaving us unBelievers
rigid and silent
as icons

There is no melody in 
this sacerdotal chanting
save that of wild wind
across vanished steppes
the plodding of bare feet
through autumnal mud
four wars ago

The priest swings a censer
in rhythm with his prayers

Each swing 
ends in a puff
of camphor smoke

a sweet savour to please 
older and earthier deities

and yes, to keep us
from smelling death

©2004 Vic Elias

poems 2 and 3 taken from Drinking with Old Men
published by South Western Ontario Poetry, 2004

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Rishma Dunlop 1956-2016

photo: York University / Rishma Dunlop

Rishma Dunlop, a gifted poet and professor at York University, passed away this month after a long battle with cancer. She gave a memorable reading at Poetry London back in 2006 and I was deeply impressed with her poems and her eloquence. She had been a recepient of the Emily Dickinson Prize for Poetry as well as being received as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

In additon to being an editor of several literary anthologies, Rishma Dunlop authored five books of poetry including Lover Through Departure: New and Selected Poems (Mansfield Press, 2011).

Small things

Small things keep you safe:
prayers like the Japanese tie to trees,
clasp of your child’s hand,
angels at the gates of your city,
schedules of commuter trains.

Until the blasted church,
machete massacres,
rush hour bombs on subways,
carnage that is the failure of love.
Clothed in our convictions,
we feel our brains slip,
in every bone the fossil of murder,
illness we cannot vomit up
a hurt so fierce it takes more than
all human grief to beat it down.

You see the exact perspective of
loss as a fading pencil study,
loved one’s features blur, smudged detail,
clouds of centuries pass over the image,
through cross-hatched strokes
only a wrist in forced memory remains,
a hand caressing.

In the archives of accusations,
vengeance and the unforgiven,
we are nailed together, flying the black
flag of ourselves.

The farmer continues to till his fields.
In the city we awaken, turn off alarm clocks,
drink our coffee, kiss our lovers and children,
begin again at the train stations, at bus stops,
briefcases in hand.

In deafness to political speech
the eye permits change.
You imagine words fit for a newborn.

Touch me. In the burned city,
we have become beautiful.

Love’s no secret now.

©Rishma Dunlop 2005
from Metropolis, published by Mansfield Press

Rishma Dunlop website:

Friday, 22 April 2016

2nd edition of Selected Poems

Featuring several new poems, the 2nd edition of Selected Poems, 2000-2016, is available to order from the Harmonia Press website

Gravity (a poem for Earth Day)


The earth has learned the virtue
of turning the other cheek,

of letting bygones be,
of being slow to wrath.

Sure, she has 
her bouts of temper,
her quakes and lava flows,
her pelts of bruising hail
and her roar 
of whipping winds,

but when all is duly said,
when we’ve torn 
her groves of hair
out from her crown
of muddied hills,

when her lungs 
are filled with soot,

her pools of sight 
with sludge,

she refuses 
to let us go,
let us float 
to cosmic realms
where we’d meet 
our dying breath,

thereafter start 
her time of healing.

Perhaps she simply needs 
our presence,

the sound 
of Celtic harps
within her caves,

the times 
we’re not so bad
and shower love
upon her babes,

the pups, 
the kittens,

the birth
of a million birds
who soar like kites 
on her many strings.

Andreas Gripp