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Coldfront Interviews Bright Brave Phenomena: Amanda Nadelberg

By Harriet Staff


Amanda Nadelberg, author of Bright Brave Phenomena (Coffeehouse Press, 2012) is in the spotlight at Coldfront, fielding questions about process, inspiration, and bravery from Coldfront’s-own, Nick Sturm. Be sure to check out Nadelberg’s ethereal, fully-realized poem at the end too, “Symphony of Leaves.” Here’s one of our favorite moments from their conversation:

What happens when you write a poem? How does it show up? Are there plants you talk to during or after? Does it feel different than it did two years ago? Does it feel different when you’re reading a lot of prose?

It changes. (I’m not so good with plants.) With Bright Brave Phenomena I stumbled into a newer method that involved writing discrete poems by stitching stored notes to real-time writing and that mode still suits me most of the time. For the past two years I’ve also been working on homophonic (English to English) translations, which have completely altered my thinking—what words I reach for, and certainly my ear in editing. I waver between project and not-project and these days I like putting eggs in both baskets. There are poems I’ve been mucking with for a few years now and some of them are finished and some continue to bother me, redundancies of themselves on various pages. Late last year, I carried around a jumbo ziplock bag with those bothered poems, alongside cut up pieces of paper, sometimes news headlines, old notebooks I’d already scavenged through, and this winter it came together as a long poem that I feel like I’ve been waiting two years to write. I’ve also been trying to write short poems again; they had gone missing from me for a while. I don’t register much of a difference in poems written while reading novels but I do when I listen to new kinds of music. When I moved to California I was ready for new tunes and my friend made a small pile of things he curated while we were on our way. Michael Hurley and the soundtrack to “Werewolves on Wheels.” “Emotional Rescue” and that Trish Keenan mix-tape. I started listening to the classical station more, too, and relying on the radio in general. I love the radio. Playlists atrophy time, but the radio is free and without decision save for whether or not to push the seek button which is like having a pulse, it’s just happens.

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Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, June 13th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.