All posts tagged: Bluets

Bluets by Maggie Nelson | edge of evening

Rereading: Bluets

1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkin as we spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into an empty teacup, its bottom stained with thin brown excrement coiled into the shape of a seahorse) it became somehow personal. Bluets by Maggie Nelson Rereading as a way to recover a lost state, to return to the cloud of feeling the book first evoked. I suppose that you re-readers must have made this discovery long ago. But, it’s not without its risks. Who hasn’t experienced the book that changes during one’s absence and upon reacquaintance isn’t at all the colour, shape, texture or density that memory would suggest? Or — more insidious, more disconcerting — the book that contains the underlinings and margin notes of an imbecile in one’s own neat hand. 130. We cannot read the darkness. We cannot read it. It …

Bluets

“I will admit […] that writing does do something to one’s memory — that at times it can have the effect of an album of childhood photographs, in which each image replaces the memory it aimed to preserve.” from Bluets by Maggie Nelson On Saturday afternoon the winter sun filled the living room with long slants of light and I stretched out on the sofa & read the whole of Bluets, a pencil in my hand, a cat on my lap. Oh what rare bliss! To read a book in a single sitting and follow the wandering path of someone’s thoughts from start to finish. A small boy with a ‘deep cough’ lay on the rug beside me building an intricate system of cogs and asking a question for each of the 95 pages of the book, but that didn’t take away from my pleasure. Bluets is a poet’s meditation on blue — “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color”. Nelson weaves art, science and philosophy …

We don’t get to choose

“At a job interview at a university, three men sitting across from me at a table. On my CV it says that I am currently working on a book about the color blue. I have been saying this for years without writing a word. It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel “in progress” rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette. One of the men asks, Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond. We don’t get to choose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don’t get to choose.” from ‘Bluets’ by Maggie Nelson It’s got to that point in December when it seems we’re burning through the days, just like Maggie Nelson’s lit cigarette. There was a period, earlier in the month, when I thought that there was plenty of time. Now I’m just waiting for the ash to fall, for the year to turn. Which makes it sound like I’m not looking forward to Christmas. And …

The Gin Closet

“I found poems that might lend my life a sense of gravity. I read them in the near-dark, trying to pass the time so I wouldn’t go to bed at such embarrassingly early hours. When you are old and grey and full of sleep…My throat was gritty with wine; anger rose like phlegm. How could anyone write those words once they’d seen aging for themselves? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,/And loved the sorrows of your changing face. What did young Yeats know about the bodies of old women, how their pubic hair turned ashen between the sticks of their thighs?” Alcoholism; anorexia; abortion; the female body — pain of, aging of, desire of; family — secrets of, estrangement from, dysfunction of; sex — prostitution, affairs, consensual; the American West; displacement, rootlessness; the loneliness of the city. And that’s just for starters. It sounds like a lot for a first novel to carry, but The Gin Closet does it with grace and heartbreaking beauty. I’d been intimidated by Leslie Jamison. By the …