Monday, March 1, 2010
The Beauty of the Husband - For Something Entirely Different
This weekend our community of poetry readers: COP'Rs came together and discussed Anne Carson. I was the dissenting voice arguing that her work was that of a philosopher more than a poet and that the consciousness was too cold to be of much interest. Yes, the woman is well versed in several languages, but that doesn't make her a good poet. And is she a poet or a composer or now a "conceptual artist"? And yet, and yet ... There are two things that I loved about her work --- Anne Carson gives me permission to think outside the poetry box. Perhaps she is a poet because poetry is the most elastic of the arts, the most open to innovation. Aim high, think big, risk failure -- "Fail again, fail better" as Beckett would say. In any case, this lead me to read The Beauty of the Husband last night. A book that has converted me to an Anne Carson fan. For me, "The Glass Essay" is far less interesting. So the poet compares herself to Emily Bronte -- so?
I wrote my wonderful group of poetry lovers last night at 1:00 AM to say mea culpa. Carson may not be my cup of tea in the way that I admire Mark Doty who I will read and re-read with awe and pleasure, but she allows me to push into new realms and ideas and there's a lot to be said for that. Carson's about to come out with a new book that looks like it may cast poetry as scrap book, as collage, as elegy/fragmentation. Meanwhile, I think it's time to re-read some Keats. What are others views of Anne Carson?