this is not a review: ‘bluets’, by maggie nelson


Ninety-five pages containing 240 vignettes on the colour blue.

And life.

Maggie Nelson’s Bluets is one of those rare gems not only for the precision of her writing… there is nothing that shouldn’t be there… but for discussions of blue in literature, art and song, for feelings on love and loss and grief, the pleasure of learning that bowerbirds collect only blue things… bus tickets, buttons, other birds’ feathers.

Nelson writes about blue without writing about blue, but using it to tap into emotions and connections that exist everywhere.

A deceivingly clever little book.


“I have been trying, for some time now, to find dignity in my loneliness. I have been finding this hard to do… It is easier, of course, to find dignity in ones’ solitude. Loneliness is solitude with a problem.”

“I have enjoyed telling people that I am writing a book about blue without actually doing it. Mostly what happens in such cases is that people give you stories or leads or gifts,f and then you can play with these things instead of with words. Over the past decade I have been given blue inks, paintings, postcards, dyes, bracelets, rocks, precious stones, watercolours, pigments, paperweights, goblets, and candies. I have been introduced to a man who had one of his front teeth replaced with lapis lazuli, solely because he loved the stoen, and to another who worships blue so devoutly tht he refuses to eat blue food and grows only blue and white flowers in his garen, which surrounds the blue ex-cathedral in which he lives…”

“Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond We don’t get to chose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don’t get to choose.”


If, like me, you love colours… here’s some.

Including blue.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s