By turns disarmingly droll and hysterically sad, Nadelberg’s singular use of everyday language transports us into a world where uncanny juxtaposition and unabashed repetition engender entirely new meanings.
“Amanda Nadelberg’s poems . . . are jumping, funny, romantic, and frequently lyrical. She repeats words within a stanza, looping back to what you can later recognize as a theme, but which in the immediate reading is almost pure music.”—Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
“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 . . . [H]er ebullient language captures the giddiness of love and youth.”—Publishers Weekly
“With an array of interwoven free verse poems enacting a strong sense of voice and character, Bright Brave Phenomena, Amanda Nadelberg’s second poetry collection, employs a tight, quick line to carry this fairly substantial volume.”—LA Review
“Nadelberg’s second collection is a jumpy look at the ins, and especially the outs, of love. This poet has wildly capacious vision and a prickly sense of humor—there’s a bit of everything here, or everything here is in bits.”—Publishers Weekly, Poetry Profiled 2012
“[S]ometimes the speaker in Nadelberg’s second collection . . . has tense personal moments: ‘I looked out/ the big windows and you/ were there too and all/ there was to see was elephants/ and angry elephants at/ that.’ With inimitable everyday sparkle she also says ‘I/make horses whenever/ I want.’” —Library Journal
“The elegant bomb-blasts that litter Nadelberg’s poems have my attention.”—Vouched Books
“Bright Brave Phenomena is a system of resilient, big-hearted machines, the warm chaos of the light in the grass, or the grass in the light, a field of slightly glitched musics tending to the terrible loveliness that makes us human. . . . Good thing that Nadelberg’s poems remind us how many hearts we have, and how necessary it is to keep giving them away. Enjoy this book. It insists.”—On the Seawall
“Bright Brave Phenomena is clever and complex, convoluted and clear. . . . They poems all work, and they work together beautifully. Nadelberg’s slippages and intricate links often dazzle us, but she keeps the brightness controlled; we’re never blinded, never burned.”—The Volta
“Propelled by a tender attention that resists anything being inconsequential, these poems delight in buoyant movements, establishing a logic based on wonder and emotional truth that asks, as desperately as it does joyfully, how is it we can touch the world knowing we cannot hold on to anything.”—Coldfront, “Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012”
“Tender without being saccharine. Astute without pomp. A solid and unexpected collection.”—Ostrich Review
“Nadelberg’s second collection offers dizzying shifts in scale and boldly propulsive logic from the stability of poems scrupulously attentive to what the aircraft industry calls ‘structural integrity.’ The familiar thrills and degradations of romantic love provide the book with much of its material, but Nadelberg’s hands render them strange all over again: ‘I am a picnic. Sit down and paw / your hands at my basket arrangements.’ The transformations love ruthlessly performs on us attune the poet to the radical mutability of the self and her reality—more than just a picnic, she’s also toothpaste, an ostrich, and ‘the river in [her] own way,’ to name a few—but where others might succumb to the doldrums of skepticism or even madness, Nadelberg finds innumerable ways of pulling herself together. This is a beautifully affirming book.”—Timothy Donnelly
“What we have here is a lovely collection of Nadelberg inventions. These inventions are for telling it like it is. In order to do this they variously prick your arm, burn down, protest, pretend, and dance, to name just a few. . . . These are indeed very Bright Brave Phenomena, that’s right.” —Rod Smith
“Amanda Nadelberg’s Bright Brave Phenomena is all sun and solecism (‘Come on, I’m exciting to be with you’), wildly changing accents and registers, and things mis-said in the heat of the moment. ‘Shenanigans: yes. / Drama, no.” —Ange Mlinko
From “Like a Tiny, Tiny Bird that Used to Make Us Happy”
I am the little departing song
and just like that there’s this.
One more time, a house isn’t a house
but a home, how a body and a body just
happen. Lying in the false woods of
a room, faces go empty—empty reason,
a non-broken man—these bright brave
phenomena like complete reverie.