cadence & slow coronas of silt
the steam-soaped petrol in the weed's rug
the geological wrist of most demarcations
the secret life of tents & errant storms
points of tenure & recession
the bright head of limestone polices
the eye notes a scar
a scar notes
the imperial river
goes down by low & impassable degrees
TSTmpj: It seems, given how vividly you paint the picture, that you may have had a specific river in mind when penning this poem. Do you wish to share which river it was, and or its significance to your life?
Jamie Bradley: The river in question is most likely the St. Lawrence, as I've lived on or near it for most of my life, though it could just as easily by the Ottawa or any number of others.
TSTmpj: I personally am very interested in the ghazal as a form, having recently penned a collaborative one. Care to share any thoughts on your take on the form?
Jamie Bradley: One of the things I find most interesting about the ghazal as a form, and perhaps why it is so common in Canadian poetry, is its capacity to combine imagistic precision with the contextual leaps that inevitably take place between stanzas. The reader, and the writer as reader (though I try to avoid intruding) is encouraged to play with conceits and with paradox when considering how the poem means. The form lends itself to both precision and fluidity with an ease that, perhaps, other forms do not.
TSTmpj: I asked this question of Amanda Earl, who featured with a ghazal in TSTmpj in March, but I'll ask you too, in a similar way: who are your favourite exponents of the form? What have you learned from them?
Jamie Bradley: I was ambivalent about the ghazal form until I read John Thompson. The range and energy his work displays. Its often elemental or mythic power. The return again and again to the process and difficulty of writing itself. I found all of this very attractive.
It's difficult to pin down more contemporary influences as so many of the writers I follow work in, or have been strongly influenced by the form, but I suspect one of the influences must be Amanda Earl, if only because we talk often about and through the form.
Jamie Bradley's poetry appears most recently in Contemporary Verse 2, Rattle, and Poetry is Dead. His chapbook Compositions was published in 2008 by AngelHousePress.