Tuesday, July 19, 2005

jane {a murder}

I was at school with accomplished poet and all-around nice person Maggie Nelson, so I'm pleased to see her book, Jane {a murder}, receiving some well-deserved attention. Chekhov's Mistress details reading Maggie's "book of poetry and book of true-crime" based on the murder of her aunt Jane in 1969.

Jane works so well because the poetry itself is nearly invisible. So much contemporary poetry tends to be too self-conscious to let its meaning work on you, but Maggie Nelson's poems manage to both fluidly pull us through the story and stand alone - they are purposeful and poignant with no pretense. Indeed, I would classify Jane {a murder} as a page-turner.

There's an interview with Maggie at Small Spiral Notebook and a profile at Soft Skull. New York's loss is L.A.'s gain: she now teaches at CalArts.

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