Bradley Paul’s books include The Obvious (selected by Brenda Hillman for the New Issues Poetry Prize) and The Animals All Are Gathering (winner of the 2009 Donald Hall Prize of poetry). His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Smartish Pace, Fence, Pleiades, Iowa Review, and more. A native of Baltimore, Paul lives in Los Angeles, where he writes for television.
The poems in Plasma, Bradley Paul’s third book, use common objects, animals, people, and experiences as starting points to consider one’s connectivity to the world. Riddles and obituaries alternate with rants and memories of things that never existed or that the speaker has never seen – or that he has, and struggles to remember. The title is inspired by all our conceptions of plasma: an infinitely conductive state of matter in which the many disparate parts act collectively to create a single, ever-shifting whole. The part of the blood that communicates and provides. The ethereal medium by which we watch thousands of electronic images, sounds, and stories.
Winner of the 2009 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry
These poems address issues of death and personal crisis by filtering them through an obsession with monsters and animals. After an initial loss, the speaker of these poems tries to utilize different personae—monsters, people stuck in horror movies—before turning his attention to the dreamlike animals that stalk him. Eventually, the speaker tries to resolve the conflicts among the figures by creating a cobbled-together garden in which they can coexist.