In this latest entry in the growing tradition of books ostensibly devoted to a color, Maggie Nelson weaves a vast if somewhat loose web almost entirely out of vignettes in which blue features prominently. By the end, it feels like a long meandering stroll through a museum or library with the smartest person you know. Often abstract ideas spark other ideas in a way that comes to feel uncannily planned. It seems as though the story Nelson tells is not in the scattered references on the page, but in what comes of the seeds those references plant, so that the reader's own referents loop and whorl into something more like the experience of hearing music than reading.
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. WithBluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, includingSomething 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.