I first saw April Bulmer’s poem, “Mai Po,” on another poet’s website. The poem touched me and brought together universal qualities of longing, sadness, the passing of time and personal search. I immediately googled April Bulmer, located her and told her I wanted to review her book, The Weight of Wings. Ms. Bulmer kindly forwarded a copy of this small but value-packed collection.
The Weight of Wings is a mixture between a novel and a spiritual journey, written in poetic verse. First I read the book to myself, stopping and browsing along the journey. I paused to engage with the spiritual theme and read the small-but mighty book through to its end. To absorb more of the work and to examine how it sounded when read aloud I read it to a poetry co-conspirator.
After reading several pages, I asked if he was bored. “No,” he said, he appreciated my reading and would I continue. Thus I completed my second reading.
Later I sat and examined the fine papyrus paper purposely frayed and roughened at the edges of this 60-page manuscript, running my fingers across it. The feel and look of the paper made it feel sacred.
I opened the book. I measured the book as though its measurements would reveal its meaning. The frayed cover measured 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches and the pages within 5 x 5. It is typeset with Cochin, a "font named for a family of 17th and 18th century Parisian engravers.” This made me feel the weight of time while experiencing a journey of verse.
Lulled into the rhythm and pace of the words I discovered a range of characters. I decided to list and outline each character to define where they fit in the text. Next, I realized there are over 20 characters, and some reappear. The voices follow themselves or a member of their community.
It was there I stopped counting. I began concentrating on the threads that run through the prose. What connects all the characters is a personal relationship to their savior: “Most blessed of Women is Rosie, earthen vessel in whom Jesus now grows.”