Plainwater

Anne Carson

After Anne Carson won me over at her Nox reading, I finally put this collection of poetry and essays on hold. It seems like several people have noted it as their favorite volume of hers. Right now I was drawn more to her essays than the various sections of verse, especially the two pilgrammages within “The Anthropology of Water.” But there was also this afterword to “Canicula di Anna”:

After a story is told there are some moments of silence. Then words begin again. Because you would always like to know a little more. Not exactly more story. Not necessarily, on the other hand, an exegesis. Just something to go on with. After all, stories end but you have to proceed with the rest of the day. You have to shift your weight, raise your eyes, notice the sound of traffic again, maybe go out for cigarettes. A coldness begins to spread through you at the thought; a wish forms. Perhaps it is something about me you would like to know—not that you have any specific questions, but still, that would be better than nothing. I could pour you a glass of wine and go on talking about the sun still upon the mountains outside the window or my theory of adjectives or some shameful thing I have done in the past, and none of us would have to leave just yet.

It was interesting to read this after Nox, for the small part about her brother, which also suggested more of the essays are perhaps autobiographical in nature.