Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and SAIC’s Writing Program
Maggie Nelson has made a name for herself as a border-smashing writer of books that straddle poetry and prose, academic writing and cultural reporting, memoir and criticism. Her most recent book, The Argonauts, is a romance at its center: the story of the author’s relationship with artist Harry Dodge, who is fluidly gendered. Nelson describes the complexities and joys of becoming a stepmother to Dodge’s son, as well as her journey to conceive the child who they are now raising together. Writing in the spirit of critics like Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson’s experience serves as a way to explore how iconic thinkers and theorists have tried to untie the vexing knots that limit the way we talk about gender and the domestic institutions of marriage and childbirth.
Nelson is the author of nine books of poetry and prose, many of which have become cult classics defying categorization. Her nonfiction titles include the New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Argonauts, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning, which was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Bluets, named by Bookforum as one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years, The Red Parts, and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions. Her poetry titles include Something Bright, Then Holes and Jane: A Murder, a finalist for the PEN/ Martha Albrand Art of the Memoir. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, an Innovative Literature Fellowship from Creative Capital, and an Arts Writers Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2016 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.
The Argonauts will be available for purchase, courtesy of the Museum Shop at the Art Institute of Chicago at Maggie Nelson’s lecture on April 30th.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency
Laity, Paul. “Maggie Nelson interview: ‘People write to me to let me know that, in case I missed it, there are only two genders,’” The Guardian
Als, Hilton. “Immediate Family,” The New Yorker
Cooke, Rachel. “Maggie Nelson: ‘There is no catharsis… the stories we tell ourselves don’t heal us,’” The Guardian
Szalai, Jennifer. “Maggie Nelson’s ‘The Argonauts,’” The New York Times