Maggie Nelson

  • Maggie Nelson

    This November, New Directions released The Quarry, a collection of ten essays (some recent, some older classics) by Susan Howe, alongside a new edition of her 1993 work, The Birth-mark: unsettling the wilderness in American literary history. These publications offer a fresh occasion not just to celebrate Howe, who turned seventy-eight this year, but also to read her anew, which is the more formidable and ultimately more rewarding charge. I am repeatedly moved by Howe’s 2010 essay, “The Disappearance Approach,” reproduced in The Quarry—an indelible, snow-muted, wide-ranging, pained account

  • “Oranges and Sardines”

    THIS PAST NOVEMBER, to kick off a panel discussion about the exhibition “Oranges and Sardines,” curator Gary Garrels asked Amy Sillman—one of the six artists participating in the show—to “describe the situation of abstract painting today.” Sillman adjusted the microphone, took a deep breath, then came up speechless. Finally, she said, “The mind goes blank,” just as Garrels interjected, “Maybe that’s the wrong question.” But his question wasn’t wrong per se—it just didn’t have much to do with the achievement of his exhibition, which takes a more interesting, less expected tack: Garrels asked six

  • THE BEST BOOKS OF 2008

    15 SCHOLARS, CRITICS, WRITERS, AND ARTISTS CHOOSE THE YEAR’S OUTSTANDING TITLES.

    MICHAEL HARDT

    The financial crisis of fall 2008 is one symptom of a transition in the nature and form of global order. The most important question this transition raises is what new possibilities it is opening up; but before asking that, one has to understand also what the transition is closing down. Two of the best books I have read in the past year, Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century (Verso) and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Picador),