Rain Shadow is a collection of poetry that explores the fraught relationship between the natural world and humans yearning to connect with something greater than themselves. The poems range through destabilized lives and landscapes, fathoming presence and absence, transformation and oblivion. They outline the major questions of our time as the poet crisscrosses western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Witty, playful, serious, and heartsore, Rain Shadow seeks to understand the space in which people and nature are inextricably entwined.
I walk like a bear— I have a bear’s gait— but the gate to the bear’s mind is closed.
—from “The Bear and the Wind”
About the author
Nicholas Bradley is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria. He is the editor of We Go Far Back in Time: The Letters of Earle Birney and Al Purdy, 1947–1987 (2014) and An Echo in the Mountains: Al Purdy after a Century (2020), and the author of Rain Shadow (2018). He is also an associate editor of the journal Canadian Literature.
"Told in four parts, the collection centers thematically around the way humans move through, connect to, and are ultimately alien from our surrounding landscapes.... The poet’s haunting voice floats through existential thoughts, alternating between the abstract and the visceral.... In a time when the effects of climate change ravage our natural landscapes and the disconnect between citizen and cosmos seems ever widening, the poems are prescient.... Bradley sketches scenes ever on the edge of disaster, where all life is precious and profound, and rests in the shadow where little rain falls and true growth is a struggle, not to be taken for granted." [Full review at https://www.splitrockreview.org/rain-shadow-review]
Split Rock Review
"Bradley describes and appeals to massive elemental forces and beings, like earthquakes and avalanches, bears and killer whales.... Figurative language and wordplay, often subtle, appear throughout the collection....Some of these poems celebrate wildlife and wildness; some highlight the uneasy and destructive relationships we maintain with our fellow earthlings". [Full review at https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1509&context=thegoose]
The Goose, Vol. 17, Issue 1
"[Rain Shadow] fits easily into my shelf of place-aware, place-engaged, self-examining literature from the North American West.... Bradley has a real knack for the potent ending. His final lines simultaneously turn his poems and sprout from them, meaning that each piece in this collection tugs you to stop a minute before you move to the next page.... He slips between registers with ease, blending humour with story with reflection..." [Full review at http://boughtbooks.blogspot.com/2018/08/nicholas-bradley-rain-shadow.html]
"[In his] stunning first collection....Bradley's impulse isn't to rub our faces in mortal mud, it's to see survival—even glimpses of transcendence—through that mortality..."