cover image Something Bright, Then Holes

Something Bright, Then Holes

Maggie Nelson, . . Soft Skull, $15.95 (78pp) ISBN 978-1-933368-80-1

Nelson's newest collection continues the genre dodging of her second poetry collection, Jane: A Mystery . Narrative, sentimental and self-indulgent, this third collection risks many possible poetic pitfalls and comes through unscathed through sheer intensity of and commitment to her voice. Over three sections, Nelson employs a consistent narrator, recognizable settings, recurring characters and a few structures closely resembling plots. But it's not fiction. And though each section also has lines, stanzas, and lyric musicality, it's “poetry” only in a very loose sense. Instead, it's a stunning collection of real-world stories shadowed by the netherworld of poetry: “The hippie tells us his dog/ has terrible luck. A week ago/ it fell into a silo; yesterday/ it got electrocuted while peeing/ on a pole. We don't really know/ how to respond. The sky is amazing/tonight, full of blurry swans.” (Nov.)