To work with fragments of ancient lyric poems, as Carson does, is to [be] an archaeologist of the invisible whose tools are her learning and her imagination. Here, despite references to Longinus and Antonioni, Carson creates not so much a palimpsest as a kind of cultural telescoping, which cuts to the heart of the problem of human longing. She is in fact writing essays under the discipline of poetics; an extraordinary project which both subverts the humdrum of lit crit and questions the role and limits of poetry itself. She is engaging Simone Weil and writing movingly about her ill mother.
Carson is also a professor of classics at the University of Michigan, whose work includes If Not, Winter, a version of Sappho. She writes as if every poet, writer, religious thinker, and philosopher who has ever lived is still our contemporary.
Maybe this book isn't quite as engaging as some of her other books, but it is important for the whole picture that becomes Anne Carson. Carson takes risks, subverts literary conventions, and plays havoc with our expectations. She writes as if every poet, writer, religious thinker, and philosopher who has ever lived is still our contemporary. Here, despite references to Longinus and Antonioni, Carson creates not so much a palimpsest as a kind of cultural telescoping, which cuts to the heart of the problem of human longing. Carson attempts [this task] with great tenderness, framing the undoing as a work of love that compels one to forsake oneself in order to be something more—truer, more luminous, and also more transient.
Carson has emerged in the last two decades as a kind of prophet of the unknowable. Make no mistake, this is no light reading -- unless of course you want it to be, because it will bend for you like that. Most of all, though, this is inimitable poetry. All of these things add up to the intellectual and emotional and, yes, spiritual journey of the author, one of the central ones of our time. But if you want food for thought, it's "FarNear". For example: An Opera in Three Parts PART ONE Cast: Hephaistos: lame god of the forge and husband of Aphrodite Aphrodite: goddess of love and wife of Hephaistos Ares: god of war and lover of Aphrodite Volcano Chorus: 7 female robots built by Hephaistos to help him at the forge" This collection melds beauty, mystery, philosophy, psychology, ridiculousness, wit, hilarity, the sublime, love, and more in darkness and almost random-seeming structure.
Throughout the book, Carson makes control and surrender both her topic and her practice, producing a deep lyricism almost prior to the images it throws up, that "swarm of clearnesses and do they amaze you". What fascinates Carson is above all the human, "the ancient struggle of breath against death" "No Port Now". Carson takes risks, subverts literary conventions, and plays havoc with our expectations. Elsewhere in the series, desire for transcendence is emotional and so of a piece with other human longings, such as nostalgia - "Spring Break" recollects a coming of age which itself looked backward with regret - understanding and desire: "In sex she clusters herself on the man's body as if hit by a wind" "Mia Moglie". Where Carson relaxes her urgent disciplines, as in a "screenplay" on Heloise and Abelard, dialogue effortlessly characterises human behaviour - in all its gracelessness and joy.
They exhibit a certain staginess; like many accomplished theoreticians, Carson is adept at flourishing conclusions as if they were both sleight of hand and there all along. She writes as if every poet, writer, religious thinker, and philosopher who has ever lived is still our contemporary. Flowers sigh and two noon bees float backwards. Carson's ferocious technical control reduces the sprawl of thought to limpid idea. I have never read anything remotely like this before.
Even the clear marks seem to be trying to go away.
Is verse a fluent container of ideas?
She is engaging Simone Weil and writing movingly about her ill mother. Most of all, though, this is inimitable poetry.
Here's a little thing I wrote back in the day:. She is interested in her characters in a way that most poets are not. As for her subject matter, she writes perceptively and amusingly about men and women in love, their jealousies, their misunderstandings, and the solitude which they are not able to overcome.