In Couplets, Maggie Millner has written a highly structured, accessible book about the fluidity and restraint of relationships and sexuality. These rhyming couplets interspersed with prose meditations thrilled me. I've never read a book quite like this one before. Recommended By Adam P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"An endlessly inventive, wise, exhilarating book." Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness and What Belongs to You
A dazzling love story in poems about one woman's coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming undone
A woman lives an ordinary life in Brooklyn. She has a boyfriend. They share a cat. She writes poems in the prevailing style. She also has dreams: of being seduced by a throng of older women, of kissing a friend in a dorm-room closet. But the dreams are private, not real.
One night, she meets another woman at a bar, and an escape hatch swings open in the floor of her life. She falls into a consuming affair — into queerness, polyamory, kink, power and loss, humiliation and freedom, and an enormous surge of desire that lets her leave herself behind.
Maggie Millner's captivating, seductive debut is a love story in poems that explores obsession, gender, identity, and the art and act of literary transformation. In rhyming couplets and prose vignettes, Couplets chronicles the strictures, structures, and pitfalls of relationships — the mirroring, the pleasing, the small jealousies and disappointments — and how the people we love can show us who we truly are.
"Couplets compelled me like a love affair — I didn't want to eat, didn't want to go to bed, didn't want to get off the subway, I just wanted to hear the story it was telling, which was, ultimately, a story about form-what are the forms (of intimacy, vocation, domesticity, verse, pleasure) we want to be held by, and to break free from? I cannot remember the last time I was this gripped by a voice or its questions. Reading it was a thrill, a rearrangement of my psychic molecules." Leslie Jamison, author of Make It Scream, Make It Burn
"A dazzling, feather-light tour de force — witty and effervescent and insightful, and so sexy, and so real. I want a time machine so I can give this book to my Eugene Onegin-obsessed teenage self!" Elif Batuman, author of Either/Or
"Copulative pleasures abound in this spectacular debut…As the perfectly paced narrative unfolds, self-scrutiny about life and writing deepens… Erudite but never overbearing, this is a remarkable achievement."
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Maggie Millner was born and raised in rural upstate New York. She teaches writing at Yale and is a senior editor at The Yale Review. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Poetry. Couplets is her first book.