Home » Newpages Blog » Hints and Allegations

Hints and Allegations


Amanda J. Bradley

October 2009

Jeremy Benson

“All along, along, there were incidents and accidents, there were hints and allegations.” – Paul Simon, “Call Me Al” Graceland

“All along, along, there were incidents and accidents, there were hints and allegations.” – Paul Simon, “Call Me Al” Graceland

Hints and Allegations has the unencumbered personality of a teenager who has just come of age. It moves through the halls of Amanda J. Bradley’s stanzas with a residual adolescent awkwardness that has been overshadowed by a newfound self-awareness, and the confidence that comes with it.

The book is divided into “Disturbance” and “Equilibrium” (two words one might apply to hormone-charged teendom). The former pits the speaker’s selfness against otherness, frequently in the form of – dare I say angsty – deflections of and charges against “you.” From “Choice”:

Bogart my life.
See what I’ll do.
…Think you are better.
Think you love me,
If you must.

Other poems remain unsounded as internal dialogue, like a day’s thoughts scribbled into a nightly journal. “Minnows dodge through my mind’s muddy pool,” begins “Thought,” “They collide and gnaw each other’s gills.”

The latter half draws out, its focus trained on expansive themes – memory, death, faith, reason – and its style elongated and controlled in comparison with the first. In “Who’s there,” Bradley writes:

Hold at arm’s length where I am held cradled there, here, what year
Necessary, secrets are sexy. Growing old, growing aware
Of what was always there: who created who created who created who

“Equilibrium” uses philosophy and contemplation to counter the petty impulse arguments of “Disturbance.” Bradley satisfactorily returns to the Paul Simon allusion of the book’s title: “Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly / get these mutts away from me / you know I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.”

Although “her writing is like a high schooler’s” is not a blurb you’d find on a back cover anytime soon, Bradley’s poetry is just that, and sincerely in the best way possible. Bradley recaptures the curiosity and joy of discovering language, and her poems are explorations of all the qualities of printed word, incorporating wordplay and experimenting with enjambment. She writes:

We doublespeak always,
attempting to step, but
slipping and slipping and slipping,
silently bared but
safely barred as well.
Do not worry.
Babble on.

Among a field of jaded and disgruntled literary works, Hints and Allegations is a rare rejuvenator. Amanda J. Bradley rejoices in language’s surprises, downfalls and wormholes, reclaiming the page into a playground for words.

Spread the word!