cover image Bright Brave Phenomena

Bright Brave Phenomena

Amanda Nadelberg. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (133p) ISBN 978-1-56689-303-9

Nadelberg’s second book brings her quirky lens to focus on the ways life itself changes, depending on emotional shadings: “I turned into a blanket and went everywhere. With him there was great purpose.” Nadelberg’s touch is nimble without being precious, colorful without being tacky, and she confronts loneliness without dwelling, making her sorrow sting all the more with its deftness: “the entire ground is shaking// and there’s no trace of any/ more flowers standing. A thing of the past has come/ to knock everything over.” A longer segmented poem chronicles various unhappinesses: “And when her boyfriend walks to/ her, she looks like death, the/ face of death, big drapes/ in a tall room in France.” The boyfriend in this poem is just as mutable, taking the form of a blue door and a French vampire. Nadelberg’s ebullient language captures the giddiness of love and youth: “Listen Sweetheart. I like you/ quiet. I like you in your/ flame enduring pajamas,” and poems entitled “Me and the Badass” crop up throughout the collection. But love can also deflate like “two people and/ a broken thing/ as a road somewhere.” Her perspective is always staunchly feminine, unfolding like a present, her “hysteria as a garden, a house/ the colors are beautiful.” (Apr.)