Tag Archives: The Red Parts

Interview with Maggie Nelson


Maggie Nelson is the author of The Argonauts, Bluets, The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial, and several other books of poetry and non-fiction. The Argonauts won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and was a New York Times bestseller. Nelson has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship in Poetry.

Colter Ruland: I first read your work in an undergraduate poetry workshop where we were assigned Bluets. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of the reading list. It demonstrated how one can write about complicated ideas and be vulnerable concerning one’s personal narrative. Is writing from the personal a way for you to then engage with broader ideas, or is it the other way around?

Maggie Nelson: Thank you, and I’m glad you read Bluets as an undergrad! You know I don’t think of the personal and “bigger ideas” as opposite or even separate spheres of inquiry, per se. I often conceive of myself as doing the non-genius version of what Wittgenstein was doing when he would ask questions like, Can my right hand give my left hand money? It’s your body and it’s also a complex idea at the same time. As it should be.

CR: In many ways you’re breaking down hierarchies of language and subject matter, eliminating the sort of stuffy question of what can and cannot be put into conversation with one another. In The Argonauts, you write about your pregnancy and your partner Harry Dodge taking T, and it can occupy the same space as your and Harry’s (hilarious, insightful) interpretations of X-Men: First Class. Continue reading

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The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson

The Red Parts

FA review tag

The courtroom is a place where events recur. In the court, we are presented with recollections, archives, and evidence. In 1995, Americans watched the O.J. Simpson trial; ten years later the miniseries American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson appears in our living rooms. Crimes that were witnessed by many people are particularly suited to this type of recurrence. And the logic of the courtroom privileges the general over the specific, making “points” and “examples” that are cobbled together from crumbs.

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What We’re Reading – April 2016

The Red Parts

The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson:The Red Parts is a memoir, an account of a trial, and a provocative essay that interrogates the American obsession with violence and missing white women, and that scrupulously explores the nature of grief, justice, and empathy.”

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings by Stephen O’Connor: “A debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms.”

The Bed Moved

The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff: “The audacious, savagely funny debut of a writer of razor-sharp wit and surprising tenderness: a collection of stories that gives us a fresh take on adolescence, death, sex; on being Jewish-ish; and on finding one’s way as a young woman in the world.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Meghan Daum and review the Argentine writer Robert Arlt.

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