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Anne Carson's Antigone comic has been renamed Antigonick and comes out in May.

There may be no more War Music: Logue died back in December.
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41. Glass, Irony & God
42. Cold Calls
43. Pessoa & Co., tr. Richard Zenith

Two rereads, the other is more of Logue's Homer, Cold Calls, which I wasn't able to find in stores or libraries but noticed yesterday is on the Poetry magazine website in its entirety:

As are the probably two best sections of Anne Carson's Glass, Irony and God, "The Glass Essay" and "The Book of Isaiah":

"Glass Essay" was the first thing I read of hers, back in the library of Capilano College, now University, in North Vancouver. In 2004, it must have been, since I was only there in 2004. You'll have seen that library, they do a lot of filming there. Any library scene where you can see a circular bench set into the floor is probably there. Looking at my ledger thingie I notice I've read something by Carson every single year since then, and also by Roth, who I also got into in '04. Roth publishes every autumn like clockwork, and Carson's been almost as regular, so that probably accounts for it - but it's for a reason that they're members of a bare handful of writers I bother keeping up with. I associate them with one another, which in some respects I agree is loopy, but both got burned by some pretty unpleasant-sounding opposite sex numbers in ways that branded their work forever after. Both are also remarkably wry and amusing about these obsessions - making them pinch-hitters when it comes to love, or maybe more basically comedians whose subject is anguish...or better yet, and to their immense credit, writers doing what Shakespeare did. Roth's historical excursions are an admittedly vaguer parallel to Carson's more purely classics-themed writings, but these do provide similar traction/distraction.

Carson didn't suffer much on the reread, but Pessoa took still less of a hit. I started A Little Larger than the Entire Universe, Zenith's companion volume, but decided it had been so long since I'd read the other that I'd better go back to that too. So I read all of each heteronym in order across both volumes, saving Campos for last, of which there's 140 pp left to go through in Universe. He leaves out a few poems from Keeper of Sheep so I supplemented with Honig/Brown.

I think I'll post a few of my favorites soon. Pessoa can be pretty pedestrian, even drab, and he can also be soul-wringingly amazing. To my surprise I frequently put the book down and closed my eyes the way you do when, you know, it happens. More often than with Carson, even. Perhaps that says more about the refractory period needed to get the most out of great poems, I don't know. She's much more consistent, as technician, entertainer, even voice, but he attempted a direct centrality, for lack of a better term, that other 20th century poets have mostly avoided - even Ammons and Borges are more oblique. And when he succeeds at it, esp. as Campos and Caeiero, he succeeds in 19th century terms, and I mean that in a really, really good way, a Whitman and Dickinson way. Anyway, examples to follow.

The Logue/Homer is also great. And funny, this time.
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I had a love affair, short and surprising. It began when a man at a party said I have to see you again - he said this all of a sudden (I knew him vaguely) in a conversation with other people about other things, dark green room, and it surprised me and I walked out into the night and went home surprised and didn't see him again for a year and then it began. It ended when he said I had damaged his soul. Also surprising! Love and hate are side-by-side surprises, are they not. I mention this because it is a universal puzzle and also because Empedokles had a theory of it, which may give some comfort. Empedokles tells us that the forces of Love and Strife roll through the universe organizing all reality into the actions and sufferings we call our lives. Yes they tear us apart but otherwise nothing would ever happen. Yes we are to blame for it but way back at the start of being us, not now. Back when the deep trees were still shivering in long joy their human arms. And the tones of each soul had just been brushed on - like a sudden clearance of snow we felt we could exist without lack! But soon the relics begin to stir - and certainly this cheats and baffles reason, how there can be relics at the dawn of time - yet we all know, as one moves into love, it gradually becomes impossible to identify with the other's innocence. From somewhere, almost inside it, stains soak through. Who am I? His tears exasperate me. You are good at being cold he says and I say Alas and the famine is all around us.

One of the best moments in Carson, hidden in Answer Scars, an 'annotation' to various artwork titles provided by some idiot narcissist that Carson blithely segues into her own concerns, mostly at the time her identification with Holderlin.

First time I read the lovely bit about the impossibility of identifying with the other's innocence, I think I thought of the uninnocence as being a kind of scheming. It's like they're out to get you, and taking it like that makes you out to get them. Inflects differently for me now: the uninnocence is their habits, their history, the ways they're not like you (or too like the bad you, the outer). You can't afford to not read their history in them, since they're in so much of your life which you have to live. But identifying them with that history, limiting them to it is such a loss. Such a slight adjustment and it works perfectly well but the inventory you've taken is all that's left of them, and who needs inventory.

Love the gnosticism. So close to Poimandres, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, that early Frost poem about choosing life before birth--but she's getting it from the source. Holderlin did that too, hence her obsession with him: took things back to early Greece and etymology, not so accurately but it's the need more than the scholarship that frees the movement.

Another gratification, this Holderlin quote, from The Death of Empedokles, I think in her translation:

yes I know everything, the world is mine
and subject to me are all its powers....
What would the sky be and the ocean,
the islands and stars
if! what would they be these lifeless strings! without my giving them music and speech and soul?

Pure Shelley: "Hymn of Apollo" and "Mont Blanc" especially. Was she thinking of Shelley? The phrasing of the latter may also color her summary of Empedoklean Strife and Love.

A gift to know that these stranger friends think the same thoughts, ignorant of one another or not. The same stars, inside and out, of the dying astronomer's gesture.
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Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides all wrote surviving plays treating Electra and Orestes' avenging the slaying of Agamemnon. Anne Carson translated the Sophocles for that black Oxford series a few years ago, and has recently done E's Orestes and A's Agamemnon and sent all three of them off for readings under the title "The Oresteia"! I guess she won't be able to publish them together, unless Oxford wants to--Orestes wasn't in Grief Lessons. She's also done some freaky dance-accompanied 'sonnets' available on youtube, examples of her to me less attractive Steinian vein.

Googling her turned up lots of recent poems in magazines and journals, too. Why aren't there updated online bibliographies for active writers? Seems like one of those things the internet's designed for, and something maybe academia, rather than random fans, should be taking on.

Be tempted to do Carson's myself if I'm kept here much longer with admin problems (I've been coded as a graduate student rather than an undergrad, kicking me out of the one class I still need in order to graduate, and also cutting me off from my undergraduate email, and the one person who has the authority to change things back has been at lunch for c. 4 hours).


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