Since publishing her latest book, The Argonauts, winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, author Maggie Nelson ’94 has received attention from more mainstream outlets and audiences. As her popularity grows beyond academic circles, her earlier works, including The Red Parts and Bluets, are gaining in visibility.
A recent article from The Telegraph discusses Nelson’s books of nonfiction published between 2005 and 2015, and draws connections between them, focusing on the similarities in content and form that tie these works together:
More than anything, Nelson’s project [is]: to behave as though the land of the heart were automatically a subject for reportage, and not just a cause for an outpouring of emotion. Heartbreak, longing, sex, death, fear, family trauma, love, maternity, homonormativity: these are the territories from which Nelson has chosen to deliver her dispatches. If that sounds merely confessional, the books are far from it . . .
Nelson’s interest in form might be traced to her beginnings as a poet. “I think of the ‘I’ as a character that I’m controlling in a certain way,” she explains.