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Anne Carson, 21 May 2020

... Freezing daffodils nod againstApril snow. Long queue at thefood store. Brilliant deaths cutthe day. Hal was only 64. Hehad sung kaddish for someoneelse not long ago and no oneexpected – even the lark doesnot see the Open, someonesaid in another time.  ...

Short Talk on My Headache

Anne Carson, 21 June 2018

... Although gamma is the third letter of the ancient Greek alphabet, the fourth book of Aristotle’s Metaphysics is called Metaphysics Gamma because there are two extant Metaphysics Alphas and (may we suppose) no one could bear to call one of them lesser, so references to the fourth book are given as Metaphysics Gamma (IV) or sometimes Metaphysics IV (3), this being the book where Aristotle outlines three versions of his famous ‘principle of non-contradiction ...

Tom and TV

Anne Carson, 1 December 2016

... Out of the folds of the heavenly things I was dreaming of Tom Stoppard in a car saying do you want to come look at my etchings and I thought here at last is someone who will know how this drear phrase came to refer to close acts of humankind so I said what does that really mean do you think and he said sex and I awoke in tears because I suddenly remembered when my Dad died I had to pawn his TV, which I did for not enough money then after midnight I went out walking the streets of his small town and there it was Dad’s TV on a shelf in the shop in the dark with others ...

Two Poems

Anne Carson, 4 December 2003

... Beckett’s Theory of Tragedy Hegel on sacrifice. The animal dies. The man becomes alert. What do we learn we learn to notice everything now. We learn to say he is a hero let him do it. O is shown moving to the window. What a rustling what an evening. Oh little actor (living moving mourning lamenting and howling incessantly) time to fly back to where they keep your skin ...

Sonnet Isolate

Anne Carson, 4 November 2010

... I force myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.’ Marcel Duchamp A sonnet is a rectangle upon the page. Your eye enjoys it in a ratio of eight to five. Let’s say you’re an urgent man in an urgent language construing the millions of shadows that keep you alive. If only it were water or innocent or a hawk from a handsaw, if only you were Adonis or Marcel Duchamp settling in to your half hour of sex or chess, not this raw block cut out of the fog of meaning, still damp ...

Two Sonnets

Anne Carson, 7 October 2010

... Sonnet of Addressing Gertrude Stein Here is a pronoun to address Gertrude Stein with : dog you’ve never had before has died. Drop’t Sonnet When a language drops a distinction (as e.g. English has modified the 2nd person singular so that I can no longer express the wish, Tell me spirit! whither wander’st thou? or split a king in two saying, If thou beest not immortal, look about you!) there is a lowering of arms, a thinning of air inside the whole system, a sadness in the sparrows, a slipping away of prefixes and wisdom, ’las for alas, ’less for unless, ’pale for impale, ’unsist for unresisting, and whether is one syllable and needle rhymes with kneel (yet I confess not till I met you did I begin to feel this change as a loss ...

Guillermo’s Sigh Symphony

Anne Carson, 7 February 2002

... Do you hear sighing.      Do you wake amid a sigh.            Radio sighs AM,              FM.                Shortwave sighs crackle in from the Atlantic.            Hot sighs steam in the dawn.     People kissing stop to sigh then kiss again. Doctors sigh into wounds and the bloodstream is changed for ever ...
... i) CASSANDRA: My lips rush the night, skull empty- ing, wide, cold, yolks gone, was it for this? is like the moment when is like the when is like the CHORUS: you amaze me CASSANDRA: Apollo! CHORUS: lust? CASSANDRA: shame! CHORUS: come on CASSANDRA: we wrestled! CHORUS: conceived? CASSANDRA: spat him out! CHORUS: but still he? CASSANDRA: ah my gift! CHORUS: bad? CASSANDRA: (never) believed! CHORUS: oh but we CASSANDRA: [screams] was it for this the skull glows wide I know that smell O clear nightingale gods wrapt her in wing a life with no sting but for me waits SCHISM of the 2 edged was it for this the skull blows wide I know that smell burst- open bride CHORUS: what is it like? CASSANDRA: what is what like? CASSANDRA: Me a killed slave easy fistful of death you O humans O human things a shadow is enough to a sponge can wipe you off you I pity [exit Cassandra] CHORUS: as brightness blows the rising and hang in it, their glory, stare out death for death for death (ii) CASSANDRA: ‘I know that smell’ (Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1333) Gorges down black drops white water after shadows plunge out of wild all around to deep trees a white cock crows ...

Kant’s Question about Monica Vitti

Anne Carson: A Poem, 31 October 2002

... It was hidden in her and it gave Kant pleasure. L’Eclisse begins with a wind blowing Monica Vitti’s hair. She is inside a room. Kant’s was a partly negative pleasure. Where is that wind from? Kant took pleasure in what he called Thing In Itself. She is prowling the room with her eyes down, observed deeply by a man in an armchair. Thing In Itself was unattainable, insurmountable ...

Alive That Time

Anne Carson, 8 February 2007

... In fact Odysseus would have been here long before now but it seemed to his mind more profitable to go to many lands acquiring stuff. For Odysseus knows profit over and above mortal men nor could anyone else alive rival him at this. (Odyssey, 19.282-6) It’s a panel on something improbable (Godard and Homer?) in a fluorescent salon of some city’s Palais des Congrès ...

Triple Sonnet of the Plush Pony

Anne Carson, 16 August 2007

... I Do you think of your saliva as a personal possession or as something you can sell? What about tears? What about semen? Linguists tell us to use the terms alienable and inalienable to make this distinction intelligible. E.g. English speakers call both blood and faeces alienable on a normal day but saliva, sweat, tears and bowels they do not give away ...

No One Could Relax around Jezebel

Anne Carson, 26 April 2012

... Shame Stack Shame requires the eyes of others unlike guilt. Eyes of Elijah the Tishbite saw in Jezebel a person with much to be ashamed of. There is a link between shame and mercy people who lack the one lack the other. Psychoanalysts say shame ruins your capacity for reverie by making cracks in the mind where it is dangerous for thought to wander. In the end Jezebel’s own eunuchs throw her off the parapet ...

Ode to the Sublime by Monica Vitti

Anne Carson, 25 April 2002

... I want everything. Everything is a naked thought that strikes. A foghorn sounding through fog makes the fog seem to be everything. Quail eggs eaten from the hand in fog make everything aphrodisiac. My husband shrugs when I say so, my husband shrugs at everything. The lakes where his factory has poisoned everything are as beautiful as Brueghel. I keep my shop, in order that I may sell everything there, empty but I leave the light on ...

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