Tag Archives: Graywolf Press

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson: An Object of Love

argonauts cover

Maggie Nelson’s new book, The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015), might be better than anything I’ve read previously by her (yes, better than The Art of Crueltyand even, I dare say, Bluets). Part personal essay/cultural critique/love letter to her newborn child and to her partner, renowned artist Harry Dodge, this whirlwind of text falls into neat fragments with its title borne from a Barthesian simile:

… in which Barthes describes how the subject who utters the phrase “I love you” is like “the Argonaut renewing his ship during its voyage without changing its name.” Just as the Argo’s parts may be replaced over time but the boat is still called the Argo, whenever the lover utters the phrase “I love you,” its meaning must be renewed by each use, as “the very task of love and of language is to give to one and the same phrase inflections which will be forever new” (p. 5).

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The End of An Anxiety: An Interview with Sarah Manguso


One of the first lessons I learned in my writing classes was that writing about writing is not engaging to anyone except the author. Yet, when you find a piece about writing that’s not vain, pompous, masturbatory, but actually meaningful, actually open and honest and important, it’s hard not to be impressed.

In Sarah Manguso’s extended essay, Ongoingness:The End of a Diary, the author writes a meditation on the diary she has kept for 25 years, all without including a single quote. The result is a stunning look back on the writings she kept for years, the notes she took furiously in an attempt to mark down her days, to keep them real in some place beside her mind.

Kati Heng: With a diary that’s almost 1,000,000 words long, you seem like the person to go to for diary-keeping advice! Can you give us any tips?

Sarah Manguso: If the goal is to write a lot, I’m the wrong person to ask—a million words in 25 years isn’t much. It’s about a hundred words a day.

KH: Your book is called Ongoingness: The End of a Diary. Why did you decide to call it “The End?” Continue reading

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