Introduction & Overview of The Nerve by Glyn Maxwell

Glyn Maxwell
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The Nerve Summary & Study Guide Description

The Nerve Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Glyn Maxwell takes his readers to a very special place with his poem “The Nerve,” a spot on the edge of everyday familiarity. It is a lively position to take, Maxwell writes in his poem, when a person finds himself standing “suddenly very far” from what he knows. It is the excitement that comes from facing the unknown that this poem attempts to identify and encourages its readers to find.

Maxwell knows about standing outside his known parameters. He is a British citizen living in New England, facing a new culture and a new, though similar, language of expression. With this poem, he shares his feelings about what happens when a person “cross[es] a line” and sees life from a different, unexpected perspective. The experience can have several different consequences: some might be positive; others might not. “But you ought to recognise it,” says the poem.

“The Nerve” was published in a collection of the same title. In 2002, that collection was chosen by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. The title poem reflects certain aspects of Maxwell's life in suburban New England, but the poem is not just about him. It could be about a man; it could be about a woman. It is about life, anywhere.

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