Maggie Nelson Archive

Poets Turning to Nonfiction

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How do we tell our stories? What form best fits the autobiographical? For many writers, working in one genre is not sufficient, or else a single genre does not exhaust a writer’s obsession with their subject matter.

Hybridity in Color

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Anne Carson, Maggie Nelson, and Marie NDiaye destabilize categories like genre and color as a way of moving forward with exploring the disturbances found within personhood.

Transcribing the Self

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What is the role of the literary arts when the self is at its most porous? At moments of corporeal and emotional transition, how does writing entwine with acts of recovery and transformation?

For the Love of Boys

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I don’t pretend to understand Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. The materials she has read, the level of her intellectual thinking, as well as the life she leads—and conveys in this memoir—are several levels of complexity and depth beyond what I can comfortably claim to know.

Creative Thought and Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain necessitates time spent alone, and so seems a natural conduit for loneliness. This doesn’t signal immediate alarm for the writer, who excels in spending time alone. But is there a more insidious, pervasive relationship between chronic pain and the writing process? How does it alter the texture

Trump, Transphobia, and the Lessons of The Argonauts

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The tension at the heart of Trump’s recent iteration of bigotry against trans individuals comes through profoundly in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. Nelson writes both movingly and perplexingly about bodies in flux.

A Word for Blue

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Across languages, cultures, and time, blue is humanity’s most novel color.  As far back as we can track human words for colors and their appearance in art and artifact, black and white were first, then red, yellow, and green.

Female Eroticism in The Wallcreeper and The Argonauts

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What’s missing in the literary world, especially when it comes to women, is a dialogue around anal sex.

This is Normal: Reading Evil in the Everyday

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On Twitter, people keep saying this “isn’t normal.” In this story, the villain is an exception to the rule of normalcy. Maybe, I thought, that story is easier to tell than the real one.

The Long Gaze: When Poets Write Memoir

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With many contemporary poets publishing (sometimes multiple) memoirs, there’s clearly a desire for these writers to share their worlds in a form other than poetry. Is it as simple as the appealing arc of a compelling narrative? What other issues might come to bear, particularly in our current social