The University Poetry Center- Maggie Nelson reads for The University Poetry Center- Maggie Nelson reads for Hybrid Writing Series
Maggie Nelson Reads for Hybrid Writing Series
Sometimes the work itself is hybrid. Other times the writer is. Some hybrids’ work in two genres resembles—seamlessly—itself: I’m thinking here of how Lia Purpura’s essays and poems seem to me to converge and share a similar sensibility, reducing whatever borders we might have once thought divvied up the genres.
Maggie Nelson, maybe not so much. She’s more of a hydra, multiple independent heads emerging from the same beastie (the Monster Manual says they’re “found in marshes, swamps, and similar places, as well as in subterranean lairs”). She writes lineated poems (well and often, including several books). She’s written a memoir, The Red Parts, about media spectacle, sexual violence, and her murdered aunt Jane, whom she also approaches in verse and found text in another book, Jane: a Murder. A hydra’s heads may act independently, in some cases fastening on the same subject and trying to open it up and understand its fascination.
Another Maggie Nelson head surfaces in her criticism (recently, The Art of Cruelty and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions). It is certainly a fierce one. I wouldn’t want to mess with it or any of her other manifestations. Then there’s whatever weird little head that made the widely-admired Bluets, her book that’s most clearly itself a hybrid, occupying the space between essay and poem, documentary, personal, highly researched, and deeply passionate. That might be the one you want to talk to first. Follow the necks down the beast and there’s the writer herself, the black box, the machine that motivates the heads, that keeps them fierce and fearsome, that keeps them hungry, mouths open to the world. We wonder what kind of creature—what kind of writer—displays so many separate intelligences and has such fire in her. Well, you’ll have to come and test the boundaries of her subterranean lair yourself. (Chain mail is recommended.)
— Ander Monson
Shop Talk: The Work of Maggie Nelson, Tomorrow!
Writer, musician, and Dictionary Project founder Lisa O’Neill leads a discussion of the work of Maggie Nelson, tomorrow, October 8th at 6:00 p.m. Please note that this Shop Talk meets in the Poetry Center library, rather than the Rubel Room.
Maggie Nelson will read Thursday at 7 p.m
for the Hybrid Writing Series
is presented by the Poetry Center and the UA Prose Series. The reading will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing.
“All of my writing feels as if it exists on a continuum, with one of the abiding links being a certain disinterest in making up stories. Or, to put it more positively, one link has been an intense and ongoing desire to see and say, to document, to observe, to research, to bear witness, to articulate elements of the so‐called real.” – Maggie Nelson in
a roundtable discussion at Gulf Coast Magazine
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