Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : New Directions, c2010.
ISBN: 9780811218702
Branch Call Number: 819. 8 CAR
Characteristics: 1 folded sheet : ill. ; 21 cm. in box 24 x 15 x 7 cm.


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May 29, 2017

The only modern codex style book I've seen. Highly personal memoir.

May 23, 2015

On the surface, Nox is a simple memoir about grief. Anne Carson is dealing with the death of her brother, Michael. It reminded me of Love, an Index by Rebecca Lindenberg, though my emotional reaction to this was much more muted. Maybe because the author never really knew her brother at all. By her own admission, she and her brother were never that close and he barely kept in touch with the family. The emotional core of the book is much more her mourning of that fact than his actual death.

But what makes Nox really interesting as a work is how Carson juxtaposes that grief memoir with the difficulties and failures of her translation work. She is working on a poem by Catallus, a poet of the late Roman Republic. The poem happens to be an elegy to Catallus's own brother who died abroad. Carson takes each word of the poem and gives an etymological breakdown of each one. Nox then becomes something more complex, a dual elegy of sorts. About the loss of her brother but also about that idea of failed translation, the near-impossible task of finding the right word and expression. In a way, experiencing grief is like that. Both premises reinforce each other, capturing that constant, groping-in-the-dark feeling of mourning.

The accordion-style format of the physical book design adds to the poetry's impact. Grief is ever-expanding; words and their meaning are slippery, unstable, and constantly moving.

dpecsreads Jun 21, 2013

A haunting and moving tribute to Carson's deceased brother, as told through ephemera, translation notes for Catullus' poem 101, and brief snippets of memoir. It seems more of an archive of a life (an "autopsy," as it were), both in content and in form (instead of a traditional book, it is an accordion-fold "book in a box"). Sometimes it seems too confessional - it at least made me feel occasionally uncomfortable.

Jul 03, 2011

Greek/Latin scholar honors her late, elder brother--a strange and distant figure in the author's life. Reader is equipped to self-translate a classic epitaph, which is presumtively apt. Contemporary printing technology allows a one-of-a-kind book to be duplicated so as to belie its duplication. It's something to see.

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