A new entry in Soft Skull's ShortLit series, Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson's aunt Jane. Though officially unsolved, Jane's murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders near the University of Michigan in the late 1960s. Nelson was born a few years after Jane's death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her aunt's murder cast over both the family and her psyche. Through a collage of poetry, prose, dream accounts, and documentary sources including fragments from Jane's own diaries the book explores the nature of this haunting incident and raises deeper questions about girlhood, empathy, identification, and the essentially unknowable aspects of another's life and death. Part elegy, part memoir, part detective story, part meditation on violence, and part conversation between the living and the dead, Jane's powerful and disturbing subject matter, combined with its innovations in genre, expands the notion of what poetry can do, what kinds of stories it can tell, and how it can tell them.
Number of Pages: 200
Publication Date: 13 Sep 2016
Publication City, Country: Berkeley, United States
Dimensions (cm): 19.1(H) x 11.5(L)
Weight (gm): 199
ReviewsNot only is this a brilliant and deeply felt book, it is also a fascinating and necessary coda to American culture's obsession with serial killers. --Nicola Maye Goldberg, CrimeReads
Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, scholar, and nonfiction writer. In 2016 she was received a MacArthur "genius" grant. She is the author of five books of nonfiction, including The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism and was a New York Times bestseller; a landmark work of cultural, art, and literary criticism titled The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011), which was featured on the front cover of the New York Times Book Review and named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the cult classic Bluets (Wave Books, 2009), which was named by Bookforum as one of the 10 best books of the past 20 years; a memoir about her family, media spectacle, and sexual violence titled The Red Parts (originally published by Free Press in 2007, reissued by Graywolf in 2016); and a critical study of painting and poetry titled Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa, 2007; winner, the Susanne M. Glassock Award for Interdisciplinary Scholarship). Her books of poetry include Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007), Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull, 2005; finalist, the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir), The Latest Winter (Hanging Loose Press, 2003), and Shiner (Hanging Loose, 2001). She has been the recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital Literature Fellowship, a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and an Andy Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant. She lives in Los Angeles.