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92Y's Read By


Aug 8, 2021

Mag Gabbert on her selection:

I read Kathryn Nuernberger's essay "A Thin Blue Line," which comes from her wonderful collection of essayettes, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past. I return to these pieces often because they give me new ideas about limits—what can happen to a poem if it's allowed just a little more room to breathe, if those braces or splints that keep it packed into tight lines and stanzas are taken off? And: what happens to prose when it's distilled down to marrow? "A Thin Blue Line" somehow accomplishes both of these, and it does so while weaving Nuernberger's personal narrative together with bits of research material and shreds of fairy tale. To me, this piece strikes the perfect note between genres; it isn't hybrid in the sense that it checks none of the boxes, but because it checks all of them. And this is the kind of work I turn to when I need to reimagine the boundaries of my own relationship with language, to see how I might shape it differently and ask it to function in new ways.

Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past, by Kathryn Nuernberger

Music: “Shift of Currents” by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0