Interpretive Work

Arktoi Books/ Red Hen Press, 2008

Winner of the Audre Lorde Award and finalist for a Lambda Literary Award

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Natural history, work, queerness, and family collide in Interpretive Work. When they do, a deep stubborn will emerges, a belief in the unexpected beauty of the world—flaws and all. The poems of this collection foreground the role of the viewer—the interpreter "smudging self across what's seen." 

Poems from Interpretive Work were first published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Seattle Review, and elsewhere.

Note: Because not more of the poems from Interpretive Work are available online, particularly ones from the Butch Series, below is a folio of 12 poems, including "Butch Poem 4: Losing a Father," "Cul-de-sac Linguistics," "Butch Poem 6: A Countertenor Sings Handel’s Messiah," and "No More Nature" to give you a sense of the book.

Reviews of Interpretive Work

I am partial to her senses of incongruity, outlaw difference, and sheer perverse terror and delight in bad language... She has a touch of that sublime regret we've required, since forever...  I see something in this book. —from Jordan Davis's review in The Constant Critic, March, 2009
This fascination with naming necessarily leads to one of the book's recurring thematic questions: what do we really mean when we say nature and natural?  —from Nicky Beer's review in Diagram, Issue 8.5, 2008
Bradfield [has a] keen eye for intertwining the narrative of the natural world and her human narrative. This is what is breathtaking about Interpretive Work... here are the poems of an important new poet.  —from Julie Enszer's review in Lambda Literary Report, Spring/Summer 2008
The use of such words as 'natural,' 'vulnerability,' and the outcry at the imposition of a dominant group over the well-being of another suddenly take on a more complicated resonance.  —from Rigoberto Gonzalez on Harriet (the Poetry Foundation's blog) Februrary, 2008
In her marvelous debut collection, Elizabeth Bradfield probes the work of daily life, locating her speakers in family, intimate relationship, neighborhood, wilderness, and workplace. ... an important new voice among us.  —from Robin Becker's article in The Women's Reivew of Books


Folio of Poems from Interpretive Work