Sunday, October 11, 2009

Produced by void and fire

I've just read a fine new book by Maggie Nelson called BLUETS, just published by Wave Books. It's an essay (though the term fits only loosely, as this is a passionate, lyirca meditation) on the color blue, in short numbered sections the speaker calls "propositions." Here, as a preview, are two consecutive sections:


156. 'Why is the sky blue?' -- A fair enough question, and one I have learned the answer to several ties. Yet every time I try to explain it to someone or remember it to myself, it eludes me. Now I like to remember the question alone, as it reminds me that my mind is essentially a sieve, that I am mortal.

157. The part I do remember: that the blue of the sky depends on the darkness of empty space behind it. As one optics journal puts it, 'The color of any planetary atmosphere viewed against the black of space and illuminated by a sunlike star will also be blue.' In which case blue is something of an ecstatic accident produced by void and fire.

5 comments:

Trée said...

Thanks for the heads up. Ordered.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

A Dark Cold Sunny Day


28 degrees, but bright and sunny,
a sky so clearly blue it’s nearly dark.
I can almost see deep space out there
behind it.

Funny how such crystal pure and brilliant
light allows me even darkness there
to find it.


.
Copyright 2008 - HARDWOOD-77 Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

kyana said...

I think I'd really like this book. But I found Bluets by the author Maggie Nelson. Has she changed her name or was this a misprint?

[love your blog!]

Mark Doty said...

Thank you, Kyana, that was a brain circuit misfire! Maggie Anderson and Maggie Nelson are both poets, but this particular, wonderful book is by Ms Nelson!

sophie klahr said...

I've just read this book as well (M.Z. sent it with Rachel Zucker's 'Museum of Accidents') -- about to re-read Willam Gass' "On Being Blue" -- what's the word for returning to blue? Seems like something Nina Simone would have sung about...