Bluets is a melancholy love song for the color blue. Nelson shows the variety of meanings attributed to blue: depression, stillness, life, water, religion, etc. By comparing these all under the same umbrella of obsessive love for the color, she manages to link all episodes of life and being together.
In reading this book, it awoke a deep-rooted sadness in me. An understanding of love letters I forgot. A hope that is buried in my own writing. Maggie Nelson called out to the part of me that understood ‘blue’ (though, interestingly, my own favorite color is green) by showing her own ‘blues’ in the varying shades.
When you first told me about the jacarandas I felt hopeful. Then, the first time I saw them myself, I felt despair. The next season, I felt despair again. And so we arrive at one instance, and then another, upon which blue delivered a measure of despair. But truth be told: I saw them as purple. (50-1)
Maybe it is the simplicity of prose poetry and essay that makes it easy to love. It offers a story, offers lines of deep emotion, and offers a break between each moment.
Nelson’s search for self is evident. She explains how blue is relevant to her life. How it presents itself as everything and nothing (most like the color black represents a collection of all colors and also an absence of any). In doing so she reveals how she is blue. How she is everything she is meant to be and has been and yet somehow not.
Maggie Nelson leaves us with questions and grief as we are forced to face a mirror, ironically tinged in blueness itself, to answer what we can. If we can.