National Poetry Library recommends: Anne Carson

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 11:41

The work of Candian poet Anne Carson spans celebrated translations of classical writers such as Sappho and Euripides, poems, essays, libretti, prose criticism, and verse novels that often cross genres. Easily one of the most radical and acclaimed poets at work today, Carson comes to Southbank Centre this month to lead a workshop on poetic experimentation and collaboration and, ahead of this, the team at National Poetry Library pick out their Anne Carson must reads.

Nay Rather

Nay Rather is Anne Carson's excellent meditation on the notion of the 'untranslatable'. She uses a broad array of examples - Joan of Arc, Francis Bacon, Holderlin - to illustrate how strange and opaque language or art can be made to be, before creating her own enigmatic text by translating a fragment of ancient Greek lyric poetry.

Will Rene, Library Assistant


Anne Carson's Antigonick is a collaboration with visual artist Bianca Stone. Who ever thought that Sophocles'; tragedy could be reimagined as a comic book? Humorous, disturbing, lyrical: this is the kind of book only Anne Carson can pull off.

Chris McCabe, Poetry Librarian

Short Talks

Anne Carson's Short Talks  is succinct enough to be a prose poem and one which discusses any element of humanity, whilst surprisingly being a very complex work. It is so fitting that Carson comments on the different way in which Van Gogh saw the world as she herself is able to present a more appealing reality which allows the past and present to blur.

Lauren Purchase, Library Assistant

Red Doc>

With Red Doc> Anne Carson continues the story of mythological figures Geryon (‘is he red / yes / wings / yes / okay I do know this guy’) and Herakles (‘he’s the one wore lizard pants and pearls to graduation’) that she began with Autobiography of Red and imagines what happens to them after their myth has ended. What happens is a road trip like no other, taking in time, Proust and mothers.

Lorraine Mariner, Assistant Librarian


I’d been failing to understand Hegel for two whole years. My friends laughed at me for even trying. Then I read Anne Carson on her struggle with Hegel. She ends up in a snowstorm staring at the sky on Christmas day in love with being alive but still not understanding Hegel. And yet…

Pascal O’Loughlin,  Assistant Librarian


Delve deeper into the world of poetry by visiting the National Poetry Library at Southbank Centre.

National Poetry Library