Nicholas Bradley

Nicholas Bradley
Associate professor

Nicholas Bradley is an associate professor in the Department of English. His research areas include twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry, Canadian literature and American literature, and the literature of the Pacific Northwest.

Bradley’s research areas are diverse, but many of his interests converge on relations between literature and the environment: “I’m interested in how landscapes and environments are imagined by writers, and in how writers respond to what we think of as the natural world.”

His particular interest in the literature of the Pacific Northwest stems from his own background: “This is where I grew up. And studying literature has been a way of trying to come to terms with some of the issues of belonging in this place.”

He explains that “as with any landscape, different writers respond in different ways. But the facts of geography give writers some things to work with that are distinctive.” In the literature of the Pacific Northwest, he sees recurring motifs and metaphors related to “the interplay of the ocean and the land, the proximity of the mountains to the water, and the cultural, economic, and spiritual importance of forests,” for example.

Bradley stresses, however, that writers create landscapes as well: “The facts of geography lend themselves to literary invention, too. The most interesting writers are always making something out of what they see in the landscape, and not simply describing it. We might understand Northwestern places as settings for some literary works, but we also need to think about Northwestern places, like all literary landscapes, as inventions as well.”

In addition to studying literature, Bradley has long been a writer himself. His poetry collection Rain Shadow explores many of these issues of belonging and place across Canada and the Pacific Northwest.