Nox
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Nox

by Anne Carson
     
 

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Anne Carson’s haunting and beautiful Nox is her first book of poetry in five years—a unique, illustrated, accordion-fold-out “book in a box.”Nox is an epitaph in the form of a book, a facsimile of a handmade book Anne Carson wrote and created after the death of her brother. The poem describes coming to terms with his loss through the lens of

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Overview

Anne Carson’s haunting and beautiful Nox is her first book of poetry in five years—a unique, illustrated, accordion-fold-out “book in a box.”Nox is an epitaph in the form of a book, a facsimile of a handmade book Anne Carson wrote and created after the death of her brother. The poem describes coming to terms with his loss through the lens of her translation of Poem 101 by Catullus “for his brother who died in the Troad.” Nox is a work of poetry, but arrives as a fascinating and unique physical object. Carson pasted old letters, family photos, collages and sketches on pages. The poems, typed on a computer, were added to this illustrated “book” creating a visual and reading experience so amazing as to open up our concept of poetry.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In order to discuss Carson's latest work—a foldout, Jacob's ladder collage of letters, photographs, and poetry, all housed in a beautiful box—one must first address its resistance to being addressed. Rather, what Carson does (and with furious precision) is impress upon us her grief over a life she cannot recapture—for Carson, this life is her brother's, for whom this collection is both an elegy and a history. What results is a work of astonishing candor, in which Carson manages to define the elegy anew by exploring the lacunae of her brother's life. “It is when you are asking about something,” she writes, “that you realize you have survived it, and so you must carry it, or fashion it into a thing that carries itself.” Carson accomplishes just that, creating a physical record of a life in the form of a book that allows its fragments to carry her brother's absence. To call this art object extraordinary—more than a book, it's a reproduction of a scroll Carson made by hand—would be to understate. What Carson has given us is an act of devotion of such integrity that it carries its grief on its back. (Apr.)
The Millions
“Nox’s intelligence, sadness, and wry humor alone might be enough, but its form takes me even more. To read is sensual. You handle the folds, opening one winged pair at a time or in quick, slinky unfurlings. And this read is not linear, with pages dissolving behind you as you turn, but spatial, more like letting your eyes wander a room. With the whole book unfurled you see it entire and make links among images, like a staircase or an egg that reappear folds apart, and among words like ash, festive, blush. You prowl the book itself.”
New York Review of Books
“Rarely has forking over thirty dollars felt like such a solemn act of memorial.”
The New York Review of Books
“Carson has . . . created an individual form and style for narrative verse. . . . Seldom has Pound’s injunction ‘Make It New’ been so spectacularly obeyed.”
The New York Times Magazine
Anne Carson is a poet who likes to get under people’s skin.— Melanie Rehak
The New York Times Book Review
Trust me: it's an Anne Carson book. Maybe her best....The book is totally recherché and weirdly clear, lingered over and neatly boxed. Precious in the word’s best sense.— Ben Ratliff
Susan Sontag
“She is one of the few writers writing in English that I would read anything she wrote.”
Melanie Rehak - The New York Times Magazine
“Anne Carson is a poet who likes to get under people’s skin.”
Ben Ratliff - The New York Times Book Review
“Trust me: it's an Anne Carson book. Maybe her best....The book is totally recherché and weirdly clear, lingered over and neatly boxed. Precious in the word’s best sense.”
Library Journal
Carson (Autobiography of Red) traverses the intimate territory of familial past with text, photographs, drawings, and other ephemera that explore her relationship with her brother Michael, who fled to Europe to avoid a jail sentence on drug charges and died years later in Copenhagen. A scholar of ancient Greek, Carson uses the definitions and etymologies of Greek terms to ground the story of her brother's life and death. These definitions, which appear on right-hand pages, often serve a function similar to that of a Greek chorus—they foreshadow or illuminate various parts of Michael's story, whose text appears on the left-hand pages. Intercut with graphical elements, this book differs from many avant-garde texts in that it compels the reader to use a range of different sensory faculties to interpret the story being told. VERDICT Equal parts visual art, verse, and memoir, this bold tale of exile and estrangement will be indispensable for poetry readers.—Chris Pusateri, Jefferson Cty. P.L., Lakewood, CO
Michael Dirda
…moving yet strikingly unconventional…The assembled "text" of Nox itself is a mosaic of memories of Michael—both the "starry lad he was" and the "windswept spirit" he became—illustrated with family photographs, bits of artwork and various typographical scraps and orts…Carson is famously reticent about her private life, but Nox allows us to glimpse a bit of it.
—The Washington Post
Ben Ratliff
Anne Carson's new book comes in a box the color of a rainy day, with a sliver of a family snapshot on the front. Inside is a Xerox-quality reproduction of a notebook, made after the death of her brother, including text and photographs and letters, pasted-in inkjet printouts, handwriting, paintings and collage. Nox has no page numbers, and it's accordion-folded. It carries a whiff of visual art multiple or gift shop souvenir or Griffin & Sabine. But trust me: it's an Anne Carson book. Maybe her best…The book is totally recherché and weirdly clear, lingered over and neatly boxed, precious in the word's best sense.
—The New York Times
Daphne Merkin - The New York Times Book Review
“In the small world of people who keep up with contemporary poetry, Anne Carson has been cutting a large swath, inciting both envy and admiration.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811218702
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
223,807
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Susan Sontag
She is one of the few writers writing in English that I would read anything she wrote.

Meet the Author

Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches ancient Greek for a living at New York University. Her awards and honors include the Lannan Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Trust Award for Excellence in Poetry, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the MacArthur “Genius” Award. She is the author of Nox; Glass, Irony and God; The Autobiography of Red; The Beauty of the Husband; Decreation; Economy of the Unlost; Eros the Bittersweet; Grief Lessons; If Not, Winter; Men in the Off Hours; and Plainwater.

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