Poetry. You won't find CONTINENT OF GHOSTS being taught in an MFA program--it's too wild, it keeps you off balance and it breaks all the rules. Within a single poem you are swept away by the lyrical beauty of Bill Bradd's language, awed by the power of his words, and roaring with laughter at the hilarious juxtaposition of his images and overlapping narratives. It is a many- layered book of interlocking poems that seamlessly weaves the personal (the loss of his mother when he was two) with modern life (..".penthouses in New / York and wildcat buildings in the lower Eastside, where large men guard the door...") and with the Greek and Roman mythology of Aeneas, the loss of Troy and the founding of Rome, to explore the human condition and the search for identity. It is a tapestry of tales that shows that man's fate and the human condition has not changed much, if at all, over the past 3,000 years. This is a book by a master poet, a work of genius, one that you will want to read again and again and again.
"Bill Bradd offers us a portal into a multi-dimensional universe via this book of poems and prose poems. Using Pangea for his metaphor of the undivided self at birth and the death of his mother (when he was two and of whom he has no memory) as our point of departure, we enter 'the Continent of Ghosts, where all the people you used to know reside now.' Wearing the mask of the Trojan soldier Aeneas--'stitcher of songs, a wandering performer from occasion to / occasion, hoping for payment of some kind, a room or a meal'--Bradd weaves or re-weaves tales of Greece alongside Biblical events, Native American lore and moments torn from his own life. In addition, the narrator is shadowed by Belial, envoy of Satan, and the many surprise shifts in voice and diction add an element of the kaleidoscopic to this already shape-shifting, interconnecting experience."--Kirpal Gordon
Bill Bradd was born to farm people in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. As a young man, he drifted, worked the oil fields in Alberta and bartended in New York City. In 1967 he arrived in California where he lived for a time in the Big Sur area, then migrated further north, became an active member of a thriving community of writers and artists in the North Coast area of Mendocino and has remained there ever since. He has published two books of poetry, one of which, The Kingdom of Old Men, was named one of the best books of the year by Poetry Flash; a book of essays/memoirs; and three spoken word CDs. He was a major contributor to an oral history project for the Mendocino County Historical Society, interviewing more than 100 people born before 1900 which provided a unique view into the history of the area. The project resulted in the book, Mendocino County Remembered. His work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ashanti, Winter, Arts Canada and other journals and magazines. One of his stories, The Whistle Stop, was included in an A.R.S. Brevis/ACT event in San Francisco where actors read selected short stories. He was an editor of The Mendocino Review and Ten Mile River Press, which was awarded a National Endowment grant for poetry publications. He also received a Canada Council Grant and taught for many years in the California Poets in the Schools Program. He is the Poet Laureate of Ten Mile River.