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Melding Pain and Poetry: Hilary Peach’s Debut Poetry Book “Bolt” Magnifies the Strength of Women in Rural Communities

by BUST Magazine

In the debut collection of poetry Bolt by Hilary Peach, a voice full of wonder and grit gallops across every page. Peach has been a writer and performance poet for three decades, as well as a blacksmith in the Boilermakers Union, welding heavy metals and creating art. The poems in Bolt are rooted in the melding of those two identities; a dreamer who writes with the melody of sharp observation and a dangerous imagination—dangerous in the way only women know how to be, which is to say, a compliment. Peach sings the words and stories of the proletariat, prairie life, difficult women, and factory work fading from rural communities. In “Outlaw Girls,” she writes: “Honey hit the open road/with her gun still smoking/Honey was an outlaw/she was a wanted poster/she was a photograph/on every lamppost/in her eyes.” Each selection is a stirring and arresting reminder of the things we lose along the way in life—money, land, love—but also of emotional and geographical perseverance, of not just making it through the toughest years any of us have ever faced, but also learning to thrive in their aftermath.

By Amber Tamblyn

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2021 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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