I haven’t written an essay of any kind regarding writing or craft since I was required to while taking workshop classes and literature classes in college (I think the summer of 2001). I got myself deep into poetry slam and began working on getting better as a performance poet more than a page poet. I should have kept working on my pagecraft also, and part of that is reading and analyzing the work of others, including patterns. I’ve done that with poetry slam. I can tell you in a standard slam poem when the turn is coming, the words used to fill in gaps, where the poem uses the three minute ten second time limit as a command, not as a suggestion.

It’s been almost four years since I wrote the first poem for The Bones of Us. I have achieved enough emotional distance to finally talk about writing it and Passages North published it as part of their Writers on Writing series. You can read about it here.


Laura and I saw Her and thinking about the movie, I have mixed feelings about it based on the following (and to warn you, there may be some spoilers):

  • In Spike Jonze’s version of the future, all the men wear high waisted pants that don’t require belt. In order for me to survive this future, I would need to develop an eating disorder
  • Samantha, the AI, coerces Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) into having essentially a threesome. Said AI is capable of vast amounts of research in a short period of time, which had it done before coming up with this idea, I’m sure she would have found tons and tons of sex advice columns on how to properly get your partner into a threesome. Also, it’s a woman coercing a man into having a threesome with another woman, which makes it all too clear that we are watching a science fiction film.
  • My mom made a good point when we were talking about the film: the reason why Theodore is attracted to Samantha is that her voice is tied to one of the sexiest women in the world and we know what the body behind the voice looks like. Imagine if that voice was tied to someone we knew to be unattractive (or didn’t know what they looked like at all). Would Theodore been attracted to his OS then?
  • High waisted pants. Again, what the fuck?
  • Her seems like a delayed response to Lost In Translation. I was thinking this the entire movie, especially the way Jonze shot LA like it was Tokyo. I’m not the only one (here’s one such example).

Her is most likely going to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (I haven’t seen Dallas Buyers Club). I think Nebraska is probably the most nuanced of the nominations and the turn is Blue Jasmine is really a nice surprise, but the way Allen ends the relationships was a little too neat. America Hustle was a patchwork Scorsese tribute. None of the original screenplay nominees really blew me away this last year.


One of my first Yelp review poems was published by Drunk Monkeys and I wrote it while in a work imposed exile in Morgantown, WV. You can check that out here.

I have three poems in this years Specs Journal, which you can check out here.


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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.

Latest Posts By J. Bradley


poetry, publication news, self assessment


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