Poetry News

Maggie Nelson Has 6 Nonfiction Books for You to Read

By Harriet Staff

Cast your eyes again to HTMLGIANT, where poet, memoirist, critic, and Bluet extraodinaire Maggie Nelson has selected six nonfiction books for recommended spring reading (or any season's reading, we'd imagine). Nelson's newest, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning, is forthcoming from Norton in July (exciting news indeed).

While Christian Hawkey's Ventrakl doesn't sit squarely anywhere, it's interesting to consider it in this genre, and there's of course Eileen Myles's The Importance of Being Iceland in the mix. The late Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is also included. Famous for her vital work, Epistemology of the Closet, Nelson has instead included Sedwick's later work, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity, remarking that "the pieces on 'shame in the cybernetic fold,' 'paranoid reading and reparative reading,' and the 'pedagogy of Buddhism' are particularly revelatory, especially upon re-reading."

It's a diverse list, also mentioning an essay collection from Italian novelist, dramatist, and essayist Natalia Ginzburg (1916-90).

I’m utterly entranced by Ginzburg’s style—her mysterious directness, her salutary ability to lay-things-bare that never feels contrived or cold, only necessary, honest, and clear. Her 1944 essay “Winter in the Abruzzi,” a 6-page account of the months she and her family spent in exile, directly before the torture and murder of her husband by Fascist forces in Italy, is a punch-you-in-the-stomach-with-grief-and-beauty masterpiece.

For more from Maggie Nelson, eyeball the author spotlight here.

Originally Published: May 26th, 2011