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Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color . . .
A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.
Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa Press, 2007). She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.
Selected as a Book of the Year 2017 in the Guardian
'Maggie Nelson’s short, singular books feel pretty light in the hand... But in the head and the heart, they seem unfathomably vast, their cleverness and odd beauty lingering on' Observer
In 1969, Jane Mixer, a first-year law student at the University of Michigan, posted a note on a student noticeboard to share a lift back to her hometown of Muskegon for spring break. She never made it: she was brutally murdered, her body found a few miles from campus the following day.
The Red Parts is Maggie Nelson’s singular account of her aunt Jane’s death, and the trial that took place some 35 years afterward. Officially unsolved for decades, the case was reopened in 2004 after a DNA match identified a new suspect, who would soon be arrested and tried. In 2005, Nelson found herself attending the trial, and reflecting with fresh urgency on our relentless obsession with violence, particularly against women.
Resurrecting her interior world during the trial – in all its horror, grief, obsession, recklessness, scepticism and downright confusion – Maggie Nelson has produced a work of profound integrity and, in its subtle indeterminacy, deadly moral precision.
“This is criticism at its best.”—Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
Writing in the tradition of Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry, Maggie Nelson has emerged as one of our foremost cultural critics with this landmark work about representations of cruelty and violence in art. From Sylvia Plath’s poetry to Francis Bacon’s paintings, from the Saw franchise to Yoko Ono’s performance art, Nelson’s nuanced exploration across the artistic landscape ultimately offers a model of how one might balance strong ethical convictions with an equally strong appreciation for work that tests the limits of taste, taboo, and permissibility.
Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969. Nelson was born a few years after Jane’s death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her murder cast over both the family and her psyche.
Jane explores the nature of this haunting incident via a collage of poetry, prose, dream-accounts, and documentary sources, including local and national newspapers, related “true crime” books such as The Michigan Murders and Killer Among Us, and fragments from Jane’s own diaries written when she was 13 and 21. Its eight sections cover Jane’s childhood and early adulthood, her murder and its investigation, the direct and diffuse effect of her death on Nelson’s girlhood and sisterhood, and a trip to Michigan Nelson took with her mother (Jane’s sister) to retrace the path of Jane’s final hours.
Maggie Nelson's third collection of poems combines a wanderer's attention to landscape with a deeply personal exploration of desire, heartbreak, resilience, accident, and flux.
Something Bright, Then Holes explores the problem of losing then recovering sight and insight – of feeling lost, then found, then lost again. The book's three sections range widely, and include a long sequence of Niedecker-esque meditations written at the shore of a polluted urban canal, a harrowing long poem written at a friend's hospital bedside, and a series of unsparing, crystalline lyrics honoring the conjoined forces of love and sorrow.
Whatever the style, the poems are linked by Nelson's singular poetic voice, as sly and exacting as it is raw. The collection is a testament to Nelson's steadfast commitment to chart the facts of feeling, whatever they are, and at whatever the cost.
‘Maggie Nelson is one of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation'
In this, her second anthology of poetry, Maggie Nelson experiments with poetic forms long and short as she charts intimate landscapes, including the poet’s enmeshment in a beloved city—New York—before and after the events of 9/11. The poems of The Latest Winter are rich with wit, melancholy, terror, curiosity, and love.
‘Maggie Nelson is one of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation’
In this electrifying and raw debut anthology, Maggie Nelson unpicks the everyday with the quick alchemy and precision of her later modern classics The Argonauts and Bluets. The poems of Shiner experiment with a variety of styles—syllabic verse, sonnets, macaronic translation, Zen poems, walking poems—to express love, bewilderment, grief, and beauty. This book, Nelson’s first, heralded the arrival of a fully formed, virtuoso voice.