Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Andrew Motion on Anne Carson

The deconstruction of "Poem 101" (which we do at one point find in a complete English version) allows the construction of Nox. It gives it backbone, as well as a clear theme. This, like other elements of the structure, revolves around how much or how little it is possible to grasp of a person, which Carson interestingly equates with the question of translation itself. Long before we get to the end of her dismantling, we realise that everything she is doing with the poem by Catullus is a parallel to the work she has undertaken to recover her brother: "Prowling the meanings of a word, prowling the history of a person, no use expecting a flood of light. Human words have no main switch. But all those little kidnaps in the dark. And then the luminous, big, shivering, discandied, unrepentant, barking web of them that hangs in your mind when you turn back to the page you were trying to translate."

Read the rest of Sir Andrew Motion's sparkling review at The Guardian

Purchase Sir Andrew Motion's collection of poetry The Mower or his memoir In the Blood from the Godine website.

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