BluetsBook - 2009
Blackwell North Amer
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. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.
Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including Something 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.
From the critics
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“Like many self-help books, The Deepest Blue is full of horrifyingly simplistic language and some admittedly good advice. Somehow the women in the book learn to say: That’s my depression talking. It’s not “me.”
As if we could scrape the color off the iris and still see.”
“I can remember a time when I took Henry James's advice--'try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!'--deeply to heart. I think I was then imagining that the net effect of becoming one of those people would be one of accretion. Whereas if you truly become someone on whom nothing is lost, then loss will not be lost upon you, either.”
“The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love’s primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have seen such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless. I returned there yesterday and stood again upon the mountain.”
“Mostly I have felt myself becoming a servant of sadness. I am still looking for the beauty in that.”
“Fifteen days after we are born, we begin to discriminate between colors. For the rest of our lives, barring blunted or blinded sight, we find ourselves face-to-face with all these phenomena at once, and we call the whole shimmering mess “color.” You might even say that it is the business of the eye to make colored forms out of what is essentially shimmering. This is how we “get around” in the world. Some might also call it the source of our suffering.”
"For to wish to forget how much you loved someone-- and then, to actually forget-- can feel, at times, like the slaughter of a beautiful bird who chose, by nothing short of grace, to make a habitat of your heart."
— Maggie Nelson
"For no one really knows what color is, where it is, even whether it is. (Can it die? Does it have a heart?) Think of a honeybee, for instance, flying into the fold of a poppy: it sees a gaping violet mouth, where we see an orange flower and assume that it's orange, that we're normal."
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