2014 National Book Award Finalist, Poetry


This Blue by Maureen N. McLane Maureen McClane by Joanna Eldridge Morrissey

This Blue

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 978-0374275938


Maureen N. McLane’s scintillating This Blue is an extended love song to the natural world, to the poignant fallibility of contemporary culture, and to the multifoliate possibilities of the poetic voice itself. While McLane's poems are, in their own words, “happy/to be contemporary”, they nevertheless push back against any too readily available sense of what that might mean. What is it to be contemporary? What does contemporary sound like? This Blue offers the world a sumptuous, open-ended answer.


From lichens to malls to merchant republics, it’s “another day in this here cosmos,” in Maureen N. McLane’s third poetry collection, This Blue. Here are songs for and of a new century, poems both archaic and wholly now. In the middle of life, stationed in our common “Terran Life,” the poet conjures urban pigeons, Adirondack mountains, Genoa, Andalucía, Belfast, Parma; here is a world sounded out, broken, possibly shareable, newly named: “Take it up Old Adam— / everyday the world exists / to be named.”


Maureen N. McLane is a professor of English at New York University, a critic, and author of the poetry collections Same Life and World Enough, as well as My Poets—an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography. A contributing editor at Boston Review, her articles on poetry, fiction, teaching, and sexuality have appeared in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Review, The Washington Post, American Poet, and on the Poetry Foundation website.


Photo credit: Joanna Eldridge Morrissey