About the Poems
by Joseph Bradshaw
This poem is in 12 sections, five of which are presented here. It began from the ashes of a failed project called "Wolf Assay," an attempt to write the presence of wolves in a mostly forgotten, impossible consciousness called an early Idaho childhood. What I eventually realized I had failed to notice in wolves was that they had been morphing into birds in a single scene over the course of almost 20 years. And, yes, it was a rather ugly transformation. But the outcome was that the wolves went away and the birds could be called birds.
I then began to notice birds everywhere. Literally. I mean in poetry. So I started recording what others had already seen or heard about the birds. And it seems birds are hardly ever birds. Each of the 12 sections of the poem begin in someone else's poem. In these five sections we can hear Joseph Ceravolo, Philip Lamantia, Cole Swensen, Lyn Hejinian and Gertrude Stein (with an echo of George Oppen).
This poem is dedicated to Eric Baus.