Nelson’s Intellectual Discovery is Now In Prose

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This interview, which never made into an anthology about poets and sisterhood, has immense depth, intimacy and clarity. A long and informative read about influences, teaching, feminism, and why Nelson would rather be writing prose. Here are some excerpts to get you going…

“Alas, since moving to LA in 2005, I’ve written few to no poems. The urge simply fell away from me, though it has returned in bouts of crisis, beauty, or great feeling. (Falling in love with Harry, the death of loved ones, visits to impressive places, and so on.) I have, however, written three books of nonfiction prose since moving to LA six years ago (The Red Parts, Bluets, and The Art of Cruelty—actually four, if you count Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions, which I edited here). These projects have been totally consuming, and totally satisfying. Each one has felt like it contained the information I needed, the writing journey I needed to be on. The feeling reminds me a lot of when I quit dancing: I had always identified as “a poet and a dancer”—so it was strange for me to realize that a strong yoga practice could easily subsume my need to go to class or the studio, even to perform. Now I haven’t danced in years, which is fine by me. At this very moment, so far as body and mind go, I would say I identify mostly as a swimmer and writer of prose, albeit one who is a poet first and always.”

This was such a great coincidence, considering we just had Halberstam as our speaker at the Kelloggs:

“We got into a really heated debate with our good friend Jack Halberstam the other night, in which Jack was asserting that gays were absolutely not second-class citizens anymore, that they were as or more guilty than others of benefiting from gentrifying neighborhoods, and that gays feared being gay-bashed far more than the statistics suggest they should, indicating that some queers now use this fear as an outdated means of thinking of themselves as victims, which conveniently obscures their class sins or status.”

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