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At Sadie Coles

Brian Dillon: Helen Marten, 21 October 2021

... There are numerous small literary quotations in Sparrows on the Stone – passages from Auden, Anne Carson, William Gass – but none of them are quite so peculiar as Marten’s own style, whether in prose or in polished Jesmonite.In an essay on the word ‘and’ in his Habitations of the Word, Gass writes: ‘To the logician, who is at least patient ...

At the Royal Academy

Eleanor Birne: Tacita Dean, 7 June 2018

... the silence associated with her own. In the film, Antigone is played with great fierceness by Anne Carson, whose own obsession with Sophocles led to a poem, ‘TV Men: Antigone (Scripts 1 and 2)’, which is incorporated in the spoken text. Oedipus is played by Stephen Dillane, who limps across blasted landscapes – Bodmin Moor, Wyoming, Yellowstone ...

Tongue breaks

Emily Wilson: Sappho, 8 January 2004

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho 
by Anne Carson.
Virago, 397 pp., £12.99, November 2003, 1 84408 081 1
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The Sappho History 
by Margaret Reynolds.
Palgrave, 311 pp., £19.99, May 2003, 0 333 97170 1
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Sappho's Leap 
by Erica Jong.
Norton, 320 pp., $24.95, May 2003, 0 393 05761 5
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... from one claw. Both scholars and creative writers have made much of Sappho’s fragmentariness. Anne Carson’s new translations, with facing Greek text, make effective use of blank space and brackets to convey the feeling of a torn or burned scrap of papyrus. Carson loves the spaces almost as much as the words: she ...

On Keston Sutherland

Ian Patterson: Keston Sutherland, 21 September 2017

... You can’t just carry over the words of a poem into a different language, across that space Anne Carson describes as ‘like no other’, nor can you just re-create the thinking or the experience in the poem. Both Proust and Valéry described writing itself as an act of translation: translation, equally, is an act of writing, and at its best can ...

In Coleridge’s Bed

Ange Mlinko: Dead Poets Road Trip, 20 April 2017

Deaths of the Poets 
by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts.
Cape, 414 pp., £14.99, February 2017, 978 0 224 09754 3
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... That joke isn’t possible without earnest literary pilgrimages to mock. In Economy of the Unlost Anne Carson gives a persuasive account of the nexus between poets and death, and goes back not to Orpheus’ loss of Eurydice, or Sappho’s apocryphal leap off a cliff, but to the fifth-century Simonides of Keos, the first poet crass enough to write poetry ...

Extreme Jogging

Kevin Breathnach: The ‘Nocilla’ Project, 18 February 2021

The Nocilla Trilogy 
by Agustín Fernández Mallo, translated by Thomas Bunstead.
Farrar, Straus, 528 pp., $30, February 2019, 978 0 374 22278 9
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... Mallo writes at one point, and gaps such as these allow the fragments to ‘drift’, as Anne Carson put it in ‘Merry Christmas for Hegel’, ‘in gentle and mutual redefinition of one another’. ‘The so-called obra fragmentada,’ Mallo has said, is ‘usually understood as a collage of more or less erratic ...

I dive under the covers

Sheila Heti: Mad Wives, 6 June 2013

Heroines 
by Kate Zambreno.
Semiotext(e), 309 pp., £12.95, November 2012, 978 1 58435 114 6
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... do the work? Simone de Beauvoir, Gertrude Stein, Hannah Arendt, Alice Munro, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Carson. Why am I even making this list? By the end of the book, I felt for Flaubert. ‘The humid element’, the ‘tears, chatter, breast-feeding … menses’, was too much for me, too. I was more comfortable in Part 1, where the ‘veil of ...

Reality Is Worse

Adam Mars-Jones: Lydia Davis, 17 April 2014

Can’t and Won’t 
by Lydia Davis.
Hamish Hamilton, 304 pp., £16.99, April 2014, 978 0 241 14664 4
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... Oxford Companion to Canadian Military History’ but ‘Interested in:/the psychology of lying/Anne Carson on the death of her brother/French writers admired by Proust/the poems of Catullus/translations from the Serbian.’ This is perhaps no more than an upmarket version of Liking things on Facebook, but that too, as advertisers understand, is ...

Aviators and Movie Stars

Patricia Lockwood: Carson McCullers, 19 October 2017

Stories, Plays and Other Writings 
by Carson McCullers.
Library of America, 672 pp., £33.99, January 2017, 978 1 59853 511 2
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... of those images that seems to demonstrate the soul is real, like spirit photography. My study of Carson McCullers began when I was a teenager, as any study of her should. On one of our family outings to the bookstore, I picked up a mass-market paperback of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, with all the characters swept together on the front in a sort of soap ...

You are the we of me

Joyce Carol Oates: The Autobiography of Carson McCullers, 2 September 1999

Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers 
edited by Carlos Dews.
Wisconsin, 256 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 299 16440 3
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... literary reputation? In the Forties and early Fifties, such disparate, talented young writers as Carson McCullers, Truman Capote and Flannery O’Connor were perceived as kindred; there was a highly publicised vogue of American Southern Gothic writing, abetted by photographs of the very camp Truman Capote reclining on a chaise-longue like a delicious dream ...

Just How It was

Anne Hollander: The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, 7 May 1998

Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson 
edited by E.H. Gombrich.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £32, February 1998, 9780500542187
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Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans 
edited by Jean Clair.
Thames and Hudson, 231 pp., £29.95, January 1998, 0 500 28052 5
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... the sign that the subject is most himself? Or herself: here are Susan Sontag (1972) and Carson McCullers (1946), each raising a dark gaze to us under a brow tense with thought each reaching to poise a cigarette over an ashtray. Giacometti (1961) stares nose-to-nose into the face of a bust he has made, his big foreground hand intimately cupping its ...

Antigone in Galway

Anne Enright, 17 December 2015

... Creon’s edict and bury the corpse. And so she does. When asked to deny the crime, she says, in Anne Carson’s 2012 translation of Sophocles: ‘I did the deed I do not deny it.’ She does not seek to justify her actions within the terms of Creon’s law: she negates the law by handing it back to him, intact – ‘If you call that law.’ Antigone ...

Song of Snogs

Colin Burrow: Catullus Bound, 2 December 2021

Catullus: Shibari Carmina 
by Isobel Williams.
Carcanet, 100 pp., £12.99, March, 978 1 80017 074 2
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... and won’t do either. The longest English version of the sparse ten lines of Catullus 101 is Anne Carson’s Nox (2009), which is both a translation and a meditation on translation and on the loss of her own brother. This is extended through a single sheet of paper which stretches out, by my rough measurement, to 25.6 metres, into which ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... the Northern women writers such as Charlotte Elizabeth, Amanda McKittrick Ros, Frances Browne and Anne Crone, whose varieties of Unionism and feminism would have been intriguingly disruptive of the meta-narrative. Northern writing is otherwise well-represented. Tom Paulin edits a section on ‘Northern Protestant Oratory and Writing 1791-1985’, which ...
A Word from the Loki 
by Maurice Riordan.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, January 1995, 0 571 17364 0
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After the Deafening 
by Gerard Woodward.
Chatto, 64 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 0 7011 6271 6
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The Ice-Pilot Speaks 
by Pauline Stainer.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £6.95, October 1994, 1 85224 298 1
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The Angel of History 
by Carolyn Forché.
Bloodaxe, 96 pp., £7.95, November 1994, 1 85224 307 4
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The Neighbour 
by Michael Collier.
Chicago, 74 pp., £15.95, January 1995, 0 226 11358 2
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Jubilation 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 64 pp., £6.99, March 1995, 0 19 282451 1
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... had in the Thirties. The way in which poets as diverse as Heaney, Muldoon, Longley, McGuckian, Carson and Mahon are to a certain degree sustained by a single symbolic world is something that poets like Armitage and Maxwell are trying to copy. In Maurice Riordan’s first collection, A Word From the Loki, the title poem reflects the practice, which Northern ...

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