Maggie Nelson Archive

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

The Argonauts Is A Direct Descendant Of Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera And No One Is Talking About It

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On my desk, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera sit one atop the other. I didn’t plan it that way. It just sort of happened like that—I read one and then I read the other. It wasn’t until this week, when I was leafing through them

On the Art of Perspective: Christopher Castellani & Maggie Nelson

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“I want to tell you what happened on the way to dinner.” Christopher Castellani‘s The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story begins with that simple phrase, the driving force of storytelling: the author has something they want to convey. Which quickly leads us to the issue of how

How to Write Violence

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How to talk about violence in literature, when the term violence is so broad? “Violence” is defined as “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something,” but it’s also used to depict the “strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.” How to

Morphology of the Essay: Ander Monson, Claudia Rankine, Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, & Maggie Nelson

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According to Wikipedia, a keystone is “used figuratively to refer to a central element of a larger structure […] that locks the other elements in place and allows the whole to be self-supporting.” With a stone archway, the form is inherent, or predetermined. First, there is the abutment, then

“Slipperiness of Signification”: An Interview with Lee Ann Roripaugh

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In her most recent book, Dandarians (Milkweed, 2014), Lee Ann Roripaugh writes in the borderland between poetry and prose, blurring boundaries and finding the unfamiliar music in everyday language. She is also the author of three previous books of poetry, including Year of the Snake, which won the Association

How Should A Writer Be?

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Yesterday on the bus I sat behind a woman whose toddler was having a Richter-ten tantrum concerning his left shoe. He flung himself out of his seat, flailed his arms, pulled his mother’s hair, and wept into his shirt because he didn’t want to wear his shoe. This lasted

Writing the Body: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maggie Nelson, & Lidia Yuknavitch

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The age of media and internet is one of fractal, ephemeral bodies—well-curated images of the self from certain angles and frozen in time, dust-coated corpses at the aftermath of a quake that provide little context, statistics and numbers that break down how many and what ages and when, yet

Inclusivity & Authorship: Second-Person Pronouns

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Used poorly, second-person reads like a trope; used well, second-person as a narrative device adds inclusivity to literature, raises questions of authorship, and helps an author communicate politically-charged topics like globalization, race, and gender. Mohsin Hamid utilizes second-person in his novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,