Norma Bradley

Visual Artist & Poet

The natural world provides inspiration and endless symbolic meanings. There are moments in the day when the falling of a leaf, or a tree before me glows with its unique markings, colors and rhythm. At other moments a memory of a place, person or experience reveals itself.

Allowing the process to unfold, I work intuitively, as I combine mediums. Natural materials, fiber, photographs and words merge as new ideas blossom into a new form. The desire to explore, create and enter a mysterious place of possibility is the motivation for each new piece.


Norma Bradley is the recipient of a Touchstone Award for Individual Poems for 2023 from the Haiku Foundation, for the poem: 

 while(the clouds turn into rain)the lily blooms

     —Norma Bradley, whiptail: journal of the single-line poem, Issue 7; while the lily blooms, Yavanika Press (2023)

Commentary from panel: 

The unusual way this monoku begins captures the attention of the reader. Almost like a simultaneous equation, we are invited to witness both the cycle of life as ‘the clouds turn into rain’ and enjoy the lily blooming. By melding the strict distinction between fragment and phrase, the clever and novel use of parentheses shows the poet’s attention to craft and technique. The punctuation is not only visually pleasing but also recalls poems by e e cummings as well as meditations on ma in haiku. There is ample room for the reader to insert themselves into this evocative scene and engage with their senses. This winning haiku is exemplary for its direct, unornamented use of concrete imagery in a unique and explorative way.

Ghosts Rip Free

“Ghosts Rip Free, by Norma Bradley, is such a lovingly imagined book. It’s no accident that Bradley, in addition to being a virtuoso poet, is a virtuoso quilter. She writes exquisitely about, and out of, memory: the often-precarious art of arranging, then stitching together, remnants, swatches, ephemera, what’s been lost or forgotten, to create a stunning composite cosmos that the fragments lack – a pattern wrought of improvisation and intuition at once. What’s more, these poems, like a quilt, function as a genealogy, the plat and locus of the heart – over time, terrain, and ancestral devotion. Bradley has fashioned in this volume a praise-song to family and the willed act of memory, joined to language, that resurrects it.”

Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate (2012-14) & author of Land of Amnesia

while the lily blooms

while the lily blooms, a collection of monoku and dua by visual artist and poet Norma Bradley, is painted in the hues of wild violets, winter berries, and dogwood blossoms. These meditative moments span the life-cycle of birth, death, and everything in between. Norma’s observation of nature, be it the migrating birds or the alpenglow, reflect her inner world and the transience that is us, often connecting to the continuum of generations past. The sights, sounds, and tastes in these poems are sensorially rich, yet expressed without embellishment.”

Geethanjali Rajan, Haiku Editor of cattails, editorial team of at Café Haiku, poet, professor, translator of Japanese. Recent publication of haiku, senryu & tanka prose longing for sun longing for rain Published by Red River Press

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