BRI BRUCE … NATURALLY!
I’m writing the draft for this post while sitting in an old Corfiot olive grove close by to where I live. It is a glorious place which always fills me with joy and wonder.
I have with me a beautiful collection of poems I’m currently reading called The Weight of Snow by the award-winning poet Bri Bruce. I have to say that the quality and depth of her work has left me spellbound.
Bri Bruce’s home is in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. She has lived in and around this area for most of her life and her work indeed reflects this amazing natural backdrop.
My regular readers will no doubt be well aware that my remit in these posts is to talk about the writing rituals & routines of the individuals I feature. I tend to shy away from discussing any author’s work in depth because I can never do it justice in such a short space. All I can say with any authority is that you need to read Bri Bruce’s poems because they are wonderful.
Bri’s work is drawn from often deeply personal experience and observation. Her poetic canvas is the natural environment in which she exists. The imagery is quite stunning and at times reminiscent of luminaries past such as Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. She has been variously described as a daughter of California’s wild places and as the worthy heiress of Mary Oliver.
I wanted to select a poem from The Weight of Snow to share with you. It was a difficult choice because there is so much that is good in here. I finally selected a poem called Rainsong.
What of this winter here?
The unhappy song of rain and
wind in the bay laurel,
rainwater in the fountain
a mixing of what is ours,
and what is not.
I go to the meadow
when the storm has slowed
only to see what has changed,
what unknowable thirst was quenched:
the howl and fury in the night
brought down the tall sequoia
and with it one hundred years,
the osprey’s nest, my childhood
In a recent interview, with fellow author Susan Salluce, Bri was asked to desribe the inspiration she draws from nature and the places in which she prefers to write …
I’ve always been fond of the outdoors. I was the kid that, given the choice, would spend all day outside climbing trees, rolling in the grass, getting stuck in the mud up to my knees, and coming home with bugs in my pockets. My parents both had a huge part in raising me to be nnature:ature-minded. I grew up camping, fishing, backpacking, surfing, and diving. There really wasn’t any adventure sport or outdoor activity we didn’t do. It has instilled in me a passion to seek the out of doors and immerse myself in the natural. Even at a young age, my upbringing created this profound fondness and appreciation for the natural world that is impossible for me to shake. I’m in love with it, and this shows in my work.
I would prefer to be outdoors writing longhand rather than indoors on a computer. I still write everything by hand when I’m not using a typewriter (I know, I’m old school). Strangely enough, I also enjoy writing in loud, crowded places. I’m a regular at a few coffee houses around town where I like to hunker down in a corner for a while. I also enjoy writing when I travel and find that some of my best work comes from these instances. I usually keep a travel journal, but I often gather together lines of poetry that I later work into a cohesive whole.
My idea of a perfect day to inspire my writing would be some sort of adventure to somewhere I’ve never been. New experiences always stir something in me. I like to go on these “adventures,” so whenever I get the chance to do this, I am immeasurably happy. I find I enjoy them most alone, which is something that others often find interesting. I’m extremely independent and I like exercising that independence. I would rise at dawn, watch the sunrise, and spend the better part of the morning tromping around. I would, however, want to share my perfect day with friends and family at some point, perhaps after my adventure and over a good meal. At night, I would want to sit at a desk with my typewriter and a glass (or bottle) of wine and write and listen to music, staying up late until I’m too tired to think! Drifting off into a fitful sleep full of consuming dreams is always a great way to end the day.
The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems by B.R. Bruce, published by Black Swift Press. Available through Amazon.
Thanks for dropping by. Happy trails.