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Bluets Paperback – CLV, October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Wave Books; First Edition 2nd Printing edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933517409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933517407
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Maggie Nelson is the author of several 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 has taught writing and literature at The New School, Wesleyan University, and Pratt Institute of Art, though currently teaches at CalArts.

More About the Author

Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, scholar, and nonfiction writer. She is the author of five books of nonfiction, including The Argonauts, a work of autobiography/theory forthcoming from Graywolf Press in May 2015; a landmark work of cultural, art, and literary criticism titled The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011), which was featured on the front cover of the Sunday Book Review of the New York Times as well as named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the cult classic Bluets (Wave Books, 2009), named by Bookforum as one of the best books of the past two decades; a memoir about her family, media spectacle, and sexual violence titled The Red Parts (Free Press, 2007); and a critical study of painting and poetry titled Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa, 2007; winner, the Susanne M. Glassock Award for Interdisciplinary Scholarship). Her books of poetry include Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007), Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull, 2005; finalist, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir), The Latest Winter (Hanging Loose Press, 2003), and Shiner (Hanging Loose, 2001). She has been the recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital Literature Fellowship, a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and an Andy Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant. She currently teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts and lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

As to the book itself, I have yet to finish it but I thoroughly enjoyed what I have read so far.
Bethany Benedict
I think I'll let it speak for itself in a few select quotes, ending my own thoughts here by saying that you should read Bluets, probably twice.
Zach Powers
Nelson's book is rife with deep honesty, sensible confession, dark(-ish) humor, and enough sadness to tear viscera asunder.
WT Jamison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By WT Jamison on October 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nelson's book is rife with deep honesty, sensible confession, dark(-ish) humor, and enough sadness to tear viscera asunder. Nelson confesses she wanted to compose a book that would be a complete, comprehensive encyclopedic index of blue. What the reader gets is a book about compassion, mourning, hope, happiness, sex, and, as one might expect, one blue coat. What the reader gets is Bluets - nothing like any other book out there. Beautifully written, compelling, believable, deeply felt.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Zach Powers on September 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant little book that does its best to defy classification. Part of it is memoir, looking back on an ended relationship while living in the emotional aftermath of it. What's interesting is how this is explored in tandem with a philosophical investigation of the color blue, and it is this exploration that dominates the 240 numbered section of the book. More specifically, it is about Maggie Nelson's love of the color, and how that love informs her understanding of other forms of love. I'm realizing as I write this that the book may be beyond my explanation. I think I'll let it speak for itself in a few select quotes, ending my own thoughts here by saying that you should read Bluets, probably twice.

"It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel "in progress" rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette."

"And it must also be admitted that hitting the wall or wandering off in the wrong direction or tearing off the blindfold is as much a part of the game as is pinning the tail on the donkey."

"And if 'saturation' means that one simply could not absorb or contain one single drop more, why does 'saturation' not bring with it a connotation of satisfaction, either in concept, or in experience?"

"But a bouquet is no homage to the bush."

"Imagine someone saying, "our fundamental situation is joyful." Now imagine believing it."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Young Fran on April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am the target audience for this book. A girl in art school in her 20s who likes girl bands and talking about feelings. I've never read anything else by Maggie Nelson but she hits the right tones for me. I would want to sit at her table in the cafeteria or skip school to smoke cigarettes with her. Bluets is not specifically about anything except a love letter to the color blue. Mostly about the constant ping ponging of depression, finding yourself up against it and remembering when you were in it.
Here's excerpt that prompted me to buy this book, "Of course, you could also just take off the blindfold and say, 'I think this game is stupid, and I'm not playing it anymore'. And it must also be admitted that hitting the wall or wandering off in the wrong direction or tearing off the blindfold is as much a part of the game as is pinning the tail on the donkey". I read that in 2011 and I was sold. It became my bath book, my beach book, my bus book. It's like reading someone's grocery list; it's easy and short and if you like sitting in a pool of sorrow once and a while Nelson's right there with you, until you choose to get out of it.
I also brought this book to jury duty. I went though security and put it in the plastic tub which smelled like pee and went through the metal detector- Stepped out to the wood paneled hallway, which seemed to be making fun of itself it was so ugly- sat in a large room with people pretending to be way too important to be there. My name was called, I went with my group to the court room. It's like the first day of school where no one talks to each other. The judge comes out and starts speaking another language. (We should all really know more about the law). It was a DUI case. And so I read Bluets in between excuses to get out of jury duty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lee Perillo on May 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seriously one of the most heartfelt pieces of poetry I've ever read. Maggie Nelson was a professor of mine so I am a little bias but it is a singular piece of work that is absolutely extraordinary. I would recommend everyone read it if they have ever fallen in love or been in love. I've read this book till the cover has fallen off and bought it over and over again. Always one of my go to books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Raiden Groff on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Maggie Nelson's break-out book Bluets utilizes memoir, philosophy, quotation, analysis, scientific exposition, query, meditation, and much much more, each of which is employed in stylistic miniature. Subjects in the book include an ex-lover and a friend who's been paralyzed, but the majority of the text features her analyzing what she's reading, often deferring to others' comments (including Leonard Cohen, Joseph Cornell, and Joan Mitchell) on blue. She's not the only artist so smitten by a color. Nelson combines spiritual inquiry with erotic obsession, searches for beauty, and gets hung up on memories. As she crisscrosses sorrow and wonder, doubt and desire, her tone darkens.

The book is a philosophical and personal exploration of what the color blue has done to Nelson. Despite the exhaustion, Bluets wears its hybrid/fragmented dress well, showing its seams and much enthralled by its wanderlust, an aesthetic runway that constantly leads Nelson to find new ideas, images, and expressions.

The text is fragmentary but not disconnected, certainly not a series of discrete contextless meditations or aphorisms in the style of Marcus Aurelius. Nelson lists insights, hers and others', to convey her learning and her vexation. She discovers links between many blues and their associations. As a result, the boards and nails she uses to build the edifice are readily apparent.

It's also admirable for Nelson to have taken on "blue" considering the work William Gass already achieved in his magnificent meditation "On Being Blue." That Nelson's Bluets holds its own is proof of the value of this incredible book.
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