I’ve thought for years I should read Anne Carson’s Nox. Now, after reading the NYT Magazine profile of her, I find her absolutely fascinating. Go read it! Everyone loves a good profile even when they don’t know the person.
As an e-mail correspondent, Carson was prompt and friendly but slightly unorthodox. She wrote almost entirely in lowercase letters. Her punctuation was irregular. Some questions she answered with several hundred words, others with only one or two (“no pets”). Others she ignored altogether. Her subject lines contained only punctuation marks: an angle bracket, a comma, parentheses. She always referred to me as “SA” and signed herself “ac.” As with her published writing, some of her e-mails were so strange and interesting that reading them made me shake my head in excitement and confusion and wonder.
Here, just to give the flavor, are some excerpts from the e-mails of Anne Carson.
On writing: “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.”