The Argonauts

  • Type: Books
  • By: Maggie Nelson
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Biography & Memoir
  • Recommended by: Morgan D.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781555977078
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Family memoir/critical theory/smutty poetry that will probably make you cry

If you spend much time in talking to (or reading about, or living with) artists, you’ve heard a lot of talk about the conflict between art and family. It’s not just that having children takes time (it does) or energy (wow yes): it’s that once you’ve entered the realm of the maternal, the specter of sentimentality haunts everything you touch. For queer artists, the rejection of the nuclear family structure can become not only a protest against heteronormativity, but an artistic statement.

Maggie Nelson, a working poet and academic, documents her hard-fought creation of a family that bridges the radical and traditional. Moving between art history and queer theory, she writes about the uneasy relationship between her work, her beliefs, and her interactions as a reluctantly straight-passing mother with the outside world. She’s a tremendous writer, and in this short weird smutty poetic brilliant feverish memoir-essay she name-drops Wittgenstein and graphically erotic reminiscence in the same breath. She soars over my head into theory and plunges down again into the dirt of her own experiences, bringing both worlds into reach. This is an incredible book.