“I drive around the streets
an inch away from weeping,
ashamed of my sentimentality
and possible love.”
I was able to slip past everything with a pink polo,
That was from a place of love.
I knew I was going to make it this far;
I knew that this was going to happen.
If you walk into an old man’s house, they’re not giving nothing.
Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière,
Anna Wintour, David Stern. Beauty, truth,
This isn’t America’s baby.
Awesomeness. That’s all it is. I would rather sit in a factory
Than sit in a Maybach,
Trap and drill and house. Do you want me
To go onstage for you? I have, as a human being,
Fallen to peer pressure. And when you say justice,
What’s vanity about wearing a kilt?
All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness!
There’s no opera sounds, sonic acrobatics,
No minor chords. A piece of me
Being the opinionated individual that I am,
I uninvited myself. Why would you want to control
That? I didn’t realize I was new wave until
This one Corbusier lamp
That liked nice things also.
I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love,
Forever the 5-year-old of something.
The world wins, fresh kids win,
I don’t know if this is statistically right.
If you don’t make Christmas presents
The biggest glass panes that ever been done,
I think you got to make your case. Self,
That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O’Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.
Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page
A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
“Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.”
“lovers go and lovers come
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive
(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)
sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”
― e.e. cummings
Painting: Gerhard Richter. More.
“Carson is a private person. She prefers to be alone. (When her husband is traveling, Carson will call and tell him, “I miss you, but I’m having a great time.”) Her book jackets have no author photo. Her back-flap biography — “Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches ancient Greek for a living” — is so minimalist that it sounds like a parody of a back-flap biography. […]
Carson is usually referred to as a poet, but just about no one finds that label satisfying: her fans (for whom she does something more than poetry), her critics (for whom she does something less than poetry) or herself. She often labels her work in conspicuously nonpoetic terms. Her book “The Beauty of the Husband” is subtitled “A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos.” Her book “Decreation” is subtitled “Poetry, Essays, Opera.” Carson gives the impression — on the page, at readings — of someone from another world, either extraterrestrial or ancient, for whom our modern earthly categories are too artificial and simplistic to contain anything like the real truth she is determined to communicate. For two decades her work has moved — phrase by phrase, line by line, project by improbable project — in directions that a human brain would never naturally move. The approach has won her awards (MacArthur, Guggenheim, Lannan) and accolades and an electric reputation in the literary world.
In her day job, Carson, who is 62, is a professor of erratic subjects (ancient Greek, attention, artistic collaboration) at various universities around North America, where she appears for a semester at a time as — as she often puts it — “a visiting [whatever].” (Even when she says this out loud, she makes the bracket sign with her hands.) This, I think, is the best catchall description of Carson. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, she is always a “visiting [whatever].””
The Inscrutable Brilliance of Anne Carson