Before Maggie Nelson’s name became synonymous with such genre-defying, binary-slaying writing as The Argonauts and The Art of Cruelty, this collection of poetry introduced readers to a singular voice in the making: exhilarating, fiercely vulnerable, intellectually curious, and one of a kind.
These days/the world seems to split up/into those who need to dredge/and those who shrug their shoulders/and say, It’s just something/that happened.
While Maggie Nelson refers here to a polluted urban waterway, the Gowanus Canal, these words could just as easily describe Nelson’s incisive approach to desire, heartbreak, and emotional excavation in Something Bright, Then Holes. Whether writing from the debris-strewn shores of a contaminated canal or from the hospital room of a friend, Nelson charts each emotional landscape she encounters with unparalleled precision and empathy. Since its publication in 2007, the collection has proven itself to be both a record of a singular vision in the making as well as a timeless meditation on love, loss, and―perhaps most frightening of all―freedom.
Maggie Nelson’s gorgeous, expansive book of poetry feels like a necessary summer read, not least because of Nelson’s ability to so palpably, grotesquely, beautifully make clear the urgency of love and f*cking, as she does in the book’s titular poem.
Soft Skull Press has released a gorgeous reissue of Nelson’s Something Bright, Then Holes and, despite being originally published in 2007, it’s easily one of the best books of 2018. . . . Maggie Nelson elicits genuine awe with each turn of the page. . . . Something Bright, Then Holes is candid and heartfelt, blurring the lines between poetry and storytelling fluently and with thoughtful contemplation. These poems swathe their reader and craft a voyeuristic sense of empathy; it’s as if you’re not supposed to be there. Yet, here you are.
Maggie Nelson’s fourth collection of poems, originally published in 2007, combines a wanderer’s attention to landscape with a deeply personal exploration of desire, heartbreak, resilience, accident, and flux.
This re-issue of Nelson’s 2007 collection of poems shows the celebrated author in her most incisive and economic form--a record of a protean talent in the making.
Nelson’s 2018 reprint provides precise evidence of her singular and true innovation in content, form, and timeless(ness). It drops controlled dollops of poetic meter, rhyme, and lyricism. It steals from multiple styles (Nelson cites her "thefts" on the acknowledgement page), it exudes nuanced understanding of postmodernity. It cries with confession; boxes with language. Nelson is raw, honest, rough, and tender.