“… I will never know how you see red and you will never know how I see it. / But this separation of consciousness / is recognized only after a failure of communication, and our first movement is / to believe in an undivided being between us …“”
— Anne Carson, from “XXXII. Kiss,” Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (Vintage Contemporaries, 1998)
NTERVIEWER: Do you think of yourself as having a relationship with God?
CARSON: No. But that’s not bad. I think in the last few years since I’ve been working on this opera and reading a lot of mystics, especially Simone Weil, I’ve come to understand that the best one can hope for as a human is to have a relationship with that emptiness where God would be if God were available, but God isn’t. So, sad fact, but get used to it, because nothing else is going to happen.
“To say she was seduced by the snake or longing for absolute knowledge or in search of immortality are posterior analytics. Isn’t the simple fact of the matter that she was bored? Adam had just performed the primordial act of naming, had taken the first step towards imposing on the wide-open pointless meaningless directionless dementia of the real a set of clichés that no one would ever dislodge, or want to dislodge–they are our human history, our edifice of thought, our answer to chaos. Eve’s instinct was to bite this answer in half.”
— Anne Carson
“There is something uniquely convincing about the perceptions that occur to you when you are in love. They seem truer than other perceptions, and more truly your own, won from reality at personal cost. Greatest certainty is felt about the beloved as necessary complement to you. Your powers of imagination connive at this vision, calling up possibilities from beyond the actual. All at once a self never known before, which now strikes you as the true one, is coming into focus. A gust of godlikeness may pass through you and for an instant a great many things look knowable, possible and present. Then the edge asserts itself. You are not a god. You are not that enlarged self. Indeed, you are not even a whole self, as you now see. Your new knowledge of possibilities is also a knowledge of what is lacking in the actual.”
— Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet
“Love dares the self to leave itself behind, to enter into poverty.”
— Anne Carson, Decreation
Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief. Ask a headhunter why he cuts off human heads. He’ll say that rage impels him and rage is born of grief. The act of severing and tossing away the victim’s head enables him to throw away all of his bereavements.… Perhaps you think this does not apply to you. Yet you recall the day your wife, driving you to your mother’s funeral, turned left instead of right at the intersection and you had to scream at her so loud other drivers turned to look. When you tore off her head and threw it out the window they nodded, changed gears, drove away.