By Hilary Peach
Bolt, the debut collection from West Coast performance poet Hilary Peach, ranges over familiar and unknown landscapes. From a series of surreal vignettes derived from twenty years as a welder with the Boilermakers’ Union, to a suite of poems based on the truths and superstitions of snakelore, to alluring, imagistic, songs of loss and longing, Bolt investigates rough terrain and long horizons.
A compilation of poetry, performance scores, and autobiography, it is full of voices, places, fleeting encounters, animals, busted hearts, machinery, and extreme weather. Delicate portraits of birds muscle in on experimental scripts. Buffalo thunder through the text. Lovers are left weeping, factory stacks rear up against boiling skies, and coal trains thread silently through clouds of fugitive dust.
Bolt is a collection of scars and a compendium of remedies; a measurement of lightning. It’s the familiar impulse that occasionally seizes us all, to suddenly run, out of control. But it’s also a carefully engineered fastener that holds things together.
Advance praise for Bolt:
“For ‘someone having trouble with belief,’ Hilary Peach in Bolt is wildly open to the world. Though times be desperate, she’s restless and alert in every moment, finding humour and pathos, serenity and continuity, and great rhythms. As long lone highways take her toward work and back again, she deftly verses conversations, people, and scenes. Her poems tap out the blues while she welds the boilers, and in her words a light glints with rough and ready tenderness and wisdom for us all.”
— Erín Moure
“Hilary Peach can write lines you never forget: lines that inhabit you, then change you each time you read them.”
— Ian Ferrier
“Bolt is so down to earth that the earth wriggles and shimmies for the sheer joy of it. Peach gives us the lives of transient workers, tangled in truck stops, motels, blood tests, shady cheque-cashers, and jokes about tattoos. Bolt is funny, moving, and above all full of nifty poetic swerves.”
— Meredith Quartermain
For three decades, West Coast performance poet Hilary Peach has been writing, performing, producing, recording, and facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations and her own solo works. She has performed at events that include the Vancouver International Writers Festival, Montreal’s Festival Voix d’Ameriques, and the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam. She has recorded three CDs: Poems Only Dogs Can Hear, Suitcase Local, and Dictionary of Snakes. She was the founder of the Poetry Gabriola Society, inventor of the Poetry Gabriola Festival, and artistic director of the festival for 10 years. A collection of non-fiction essays is forthcoming from Anvil. Hilary Peach works as a welder for the Boilermakers’ Union and maintains an interdisciplinary art practice on Gabriola Island, BC.