It’s strange how so much beauty can come out of this often painful, always unflinching work. In poems that range through the physical world—the weasel in the henhouse, the calligrapher at his table—Bouwsma’s language is at once muscular and lyrical, her voice both passionate and honest.
The elegiac is a most tender and yet most rigorous accounting. Every detail of its fact and decorum must register upon flesh, upon the syllables of flesh. In Work by Bloodlight, Bouwsma unfailingly discovers the higher registers and the keenest syllables. They beautifully prove to be a “wingspan against snow.”
What an earthy song, these poems! They rise up from the dark earth, the images quirked and turned to serve a raw transformative vision in this twenty-first century book of seeing with your eyes open. This book will be useful for visionaries, taxidermists, and all those who look for the exact knowledge of the sacred in profane earthy humanness.
Among the rural, forgotten lives lived across this globe, across these centuries, a secret is shared: There is no difference between what we love and what we fear. Work By Bloodlight, a book firmly planted in its particular plot of Maine land, the author’s farm, draws from folk tales, mythos, realistic magic, and one woman’s life to tap this collective rural conscience and bring its wisdom into this moment, for all. I love this book, and more: I need it.
—Rebecca Gayle Howell