Thursday, April 29, 2010


Some things Anne Carson said tonight:

I thought a lot about vanishing anyway.

My profession is about having an effect
on people by making sentences.

A real moment of exhilaration came
when I discovered staples.


I wanted to fill my elegy with light
of all kinds. But death makes us stingy.

Helplessness built a wall in her.

Prowling the meanings of a word,
prowling the history of a person,
no use expecting a flood of light.

But all those little kidnaps in the dark.

Anne Carson read from her new book,
Nox, an elegy to her brother who died.
She calls it, "an epitaph in the form of a book."

I went to Poets House in New York, an amazing
place near the foot of Manhattan.

Here is Carson's translation of a poem
by Catullus that she says has been with her
since high school -- #101. He wrote it
as an elegy to his brother.

Many the peoples many the oceans I crossed--
I arrive at these poor, brother, burials
so I could give you the last gift owed to death
and talk (why?) with mute ash.
Now that Fortune tore you from me, you
oh poor (wrongly) brother (wrongly) taken from me,
now still anyway this -- what a distant mood of parents
handed down as the sad gift for burials -
accept! soaked with tears of a brother
and into forever, brother, farewell and farewell

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