Lambros/bit of beryl: Anne Carson
I am quacking out a bit of beryl … hamming up on the Greek word for brilliance (but shall spare you the few clicks of likely inaccurate Old Armenian) to introduce this profile of Anne Carson.
On a Carnival side note Anne was noted as wearing an impressive checkered shirt at her LRB Bookshop reading which gave her the air of having rode up on horseback to it. She has style on the page, off the page and around the side of the page. (In Red Doc her latest book she’s styling au centre of the page)
We should be encouraging our daughters and sons to grow up and become Anne Carson, rather than aspiring to freeze their nips off on X-Factor. (Sinead O’Conner gave a great soliloquy on the Late, Late Show last week in which she described the boyos behind the table of such shows as the murderers of music.)
But to Anne. She raises me up. She could raise the Titanic up. Lookit here:
“we’re talking about the struggle to drag a thought over from the mush of the unconscious into some kind of grammar, syntax, human sense; every attempt means starting over with language. starting over with accuracy. i mean, every thought starts over, so every expression of a thought has to do the same. every accuracy has to be invented. . . . i feel i am blundering in concepts too fine for me.”
“I’m really trying to make people’s minds move, you know, which is not something they’re naturally inclined to do,” she told me. “We have a kind of inertia, sitting and listening. But it’s really important to get somehow into the mind and make it move somewhere it has never moved before. That happens partly because the material is mysterious or unknown but mostly because of the way you push the material around from word to word in a sentence. And it’s that that I’m more interested in doing, generally, than mystifying by having unexpected content or bizarre forms. It’s more like: Given whatever material we’re going to talk about, and we all know what it is, how can we move within it in a way we’ve never moved before, mentally? That seems like the most exciting thing to do with your head. I think it’s a weakness to fall back into merely mystifying the audience, which anybody can do. You know, throw in a bit of Hegel. Who knows what that means? But to actually take a piece of Hegel and move it around in a way that shows you something about Hegel is a satisfying challenge.”
There is hardly a pause before she added, in her usual deadpan, “So maybe I didn’t make any clear point there, but I was impassioned.”