Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What I'm Reading: Notes on BLUETS by Maggie Nelson

I'm enamored with Maggie Nelson's style, a mixture of philosophy and nonfiction. Recently I ran across an excerpt from her book Bluets in Family Resemblance (Rose Metal Press) where Nelson also discusses her writing process. I was sold. I ordered Bluets right away.

Half poem, half lyric essay, I don't know how to categorize Bluets, and I'm glad I don't. Every short piece is numbered, allowing the reader to move at their own pace. Nelson's use of literary history is prominent, one of the reasons I love her work. She's not only a critic, but a poet, made obvious by these lines:

"The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love's primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless. I returned there yesterday and stood again upon the mountain."

Further on, "choice" becomes a key word when referring to Goethe: "He chose to write about color. About color and pain."

This is a collection of fragments woven together, which is like the poem, which is like the essay, which keeps me wondering where Nelson will take me next.

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