Culture + Community

Bibliotherapy with Stephanie Danler | BLUETS

by | Apr 20, 2017

noun bib·lio·ther·a·py \ˌbi-blē-ə-ˈther-ə-pē, -ˈthe-rə-\
the use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy;
the reading materials so used ( Merriam Webster Dictionary)


The book doctor is in! Stephanie Danler, author of the The New York Times best seller and internationally recognized book Sweetbitter (and avid reader!) is joining the Wolf Pack to prescribe us monthly book reads for the body, mind and soul.  Reading books can be therapeutic, as the content found within their pages can transport us across time and space, wake us up with their language, inspire our thoughts and actions, and remind us we’re not alone, no matter how lonely. Below is the first installation of her new monthly contribution to Of The Wolves’ Bibliotherapy.

1.     “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color. Suppose I were to speak this as though it were a confession; suppose I shredded my napkin as we spoke. It began slowly. An appreciation, an affinity. Then, one day, it became more serious. Then one day, it became more serious. Then…it became somehow personal.”

– Maggie Nelson, Bluets.

Let’s not fear the personal! In honor of National Poetry Month, I am recommending a collection of the personal (isn’t that what all poems are?) that could – perhaps – turn you on to poetry. Bluets is the book I have gifted more than any other. What is it? A heartbreak poem? An essay on the color blue? A philosophical investigation of love? Maggie Nelson is a poet and an academic who innovated form by creating a kind of personal essay out of numbered poetic fragments. Nelson’s writing is an intricate interweaving of themes, echoes, images, and narrative.

A woman has been wrecked in love. Her mentor and friend has been wrecked in a paralyzing accident. The woman tries to teach. Tries to write. Tries to understand her obsession with the color blue. Tries to understand blue’s history and weight. To do this she calls on a variety of writers, artists, philosophers. She’s not pedantic, but curious – the result is a conversation. In one way, Bluets is a slight book – it can be read in a couple hours, easy to toss in a purse. But don’t be fooled – it will leave you altered.

 Recommended for: Reading on a blanket in the sun or in the bathtub.

Can cure heartbreak, lift existential dread, and refresh faith in art and language.