Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wave Books and Maggie Nelson's Bluets

"Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkin as I spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then (looking into an empty teacup, its bottom stained with thin brown excrement coiled into the shape of a sea horse) it became somehow personal."

So begins Maggie Nelson's Bluets, a new book of essays investigating the color blue forthcoming from Wave Books. Wave, a Seattle-based small press, hosted a three day poetry festival at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle this weekend, and Nelson was in town, as were Eileen Myles, Joshua Beckman, Matthew Zapruder, Mary Ruefle, Noelle Kocot, and many others. (You can see the full roster here.)

I was familiar with the work of most of the poets listed above--although not all of them; Jon Woodward, Geoffrey Nutter and Rachel Zucker, for example, surprised me in very positive ways--but I had never heard of Nelson. No matter. After spending a few minutes between the covers of Bluets, I was hooked. Her writing is funny, sad, erotic (sometimes viciously so), poetic, inquisitive, personal and philosophical--and often in the same paragraph. (Or, as she calls them, "propositions"; the 95 page book is comprised of 240 of these.)

In other Wave Books-related news, Eileen Myles has responded to a critical review of State of the Union, Wave's anthology of political poems published last year, on her regular blog over at Poetry.

And Tim Appelo has a breathless article about Wave in general and the poetry festival more specifically in the newest issue of Seattle City Arts.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mini review of the poetry festival. I will look into Mary Nelson.