Cipher/Civilian
Leslie Bumstead
ISBN 1-890311-18-9

96 pgs, Cover by Pepe Coronado
2005

$14.00
$12.00 direct from Aerial/Edge


Leslie Bumstead’s startling Cipher/Civilian issues lyric communiqués from regions unknown to most. Insofar as it is possible to “return” from El Salvador, Chiapas, Afghanistan, and Côte d’Ivoire, then she has done so, answering Ryszard Kapuscinski’s call for a literature written “on foot” among the poorest of the world. Vous n’avez pas peur? a woman asks during a restless night in Abidjan. No, she isn’t, it seems, neither in her life nor her work. This is a remarkably original language invented to say what cannot be said.

--Carolyn Forché


The remarkable thing about Cipher/Civilian is that after you read it you
know more about life, as well as more about language. Leslie Bumstead
uses a variety of approaches to investigate possibilities of poetry and
prose in relation to themes as various as motherhood, revolution, travel
and love. There is danger and passion and event in the book as well as a
verbal deftness that make it a pleasure to read. She allows readers to
“inhabit our losses/ dreaming of how to adorn/ the impossible.” She says
“I don’t know what to say,” but she says it beautifully.

--Laura Moriarty