in coming light
by Ashley Bunn
Paperback, 55 pp.
About The Author
Ashley Howell Bunn completed her MFA in poetry through Regis University and holds a MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She is on the editorial staff for the literary journal, Inverted Syntax and teaches writing workshops through Alchemy Author Services. Her work has previously appeared in The Colorado Sun, South Broadway Ghost Society, Global Poemic, Twenty Bellows, patchwork litmag, Mulberry Lit and others. She has worked as a high school English teacher and a graduate writing consultant. She is a certified and experienced yoga guide trained in a variety of styles including Yoga Nidra and restorative yoga. When she isn’t writing, she guides and practices yoga and runs a small personal business centered around healing. She lives in Denver, CO with her partner and child.
The narrative of this collection is both one of family trauma and healing on the level of lineage and also a narrative of how the body and soul heals by moving deep into the metaphors and origins of the broken narrative. The work centers around energetic layers of the physical and subtle body and includes somatic and interactive experiences for the reader as a source of healing and discovery.
Ashley Bunn has given us a unique and creative form, a book which invites the reader in to experience the passage through and processing of trauma and grief. Through Bunn's compartmentalization and organization of information opening up the body of work, and the passage through it, what one gets out of the read, includes the readers participation.
In her poem, "Small apocalypse", Ashley Howell Bunn writes:
yes the sky is red
and yes and yes i keep writing and yes and no
like there is some answer to this end of leaves falling
It is in this spirit of saying yes in the midst of a small apocalypse, in the midst of un-certainty, in the midst of large and small traumas that speak no answers to the myriad of questions surrounding them, that Ashley writes her brave and beautiful thesis manuscript, in coming light. Her work cultivates the poem along a garden of chakra lines, investigating and healing ancestral wounds, performing sutras (scriptures) and sutures that allow a healed body (of self, of family, of poem, of sky) to form.
—Andrea Rexilius, author of Sister Urn
The poems of In Coming Light are awash with spectral wavelengths, at once ghostly and then sharp with glints of color. Trekking the long terrain between motherhood and daughterhood, between the wound and its healing, the poet shapes verses that at times become delicate and spare, and at others pivot to a rushing breathlessness with sparks of narrative movement. Along the way, we encounter grief over a father gone, we encounter a son’s wonder, which is wide and neurodivergent, and all the while, Bunn leads us to an interior, mystical space where earth memory and lifetime memory converge, as salt in tears can remember being in an ocean. Experimenting with the visual figure of the box, Bunn discloses something ancient about the angular shape of the poem itself: “starting with a smaller space / to place your grief to let it be held by something else / less terrifying .” These poems are portals to step into where a granular voice says hush, says “can you say my name / shh ash ahsh ash,” keeping watch for what is incoming and ongoing.
—Carolina Ebeid, author of You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior