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Book Review :: a beautiful rebellion by Rita Bouvier

a beautiful rebellion by Rita Bouvier book cover image

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

Rita Bouvier invokes Linda Hogan’s belief from The Radiant Lives of Animals (Beacon Press, 2020): “The cure of susto, soul sickness, is not found in books.” And yet this Métis writer gives readers a beautiful rebellion, a book “carrying ancestral memories of the land,” and “adding to the story / like old times around the fire / giving thanks always giving thanks.” The ethos here: “as long as we have more to enjoy / than another we have responsibility / to lift each other again / and again.” In odes, elegies, “call it prayer if you want” or “an invocation for the sick and the dying,” Bouvier’s are poems that both “ponder the murky waters of truth and reconciliation” and “the massive weight of colonial history” as well as celebrate the “new greening of spring” and praise her “relative’s warm hands,” “crying out / marrsî my relatives!” As Bouvier strives “to wash away the pain and sorrow / as right renewal,” “her questions are very simple / who counts? what counts?” Bouvier suggests that to find answers, we must “look beyond ourselves to others / human and non-human / with whom we share this marbled blue and green planet.” With “wild rose” and “the scent of sage enveloping” in a beautiful rebellion, Rita Bouvier offers readers “a gift of renewal / / understanding that language is the sinew / connecting us to a life force” and “when we tire… / … / a bed of mustard-yellow dandelions.”

a beautiful rebellion by Rita Bouvier. Thistledown Press, April 2023.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems appear.