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Trail: AutobiographyOfRed



While not as spectacular as TheBeautyOfTheHusband this book has it’s moments. It scared me a bit after having stopped reading. It starts out making excuses. But good ones. She begins by speaking of her debt to Stesichoros:

Stesichoros released being. All the substances of the world went floating up. she said.
The Labors of Herakles

I suppose I liked this aspect of it most. That it is a re-framing of a myth, and what’s more, taking it from the point of view of one of Herakles’ victims. The blending of the myth world and the modern world is beautiful. I love Geryon’s wings and how he knows he is a monster, a god.

But, as usual it is the coy, ironic things Anne comes up with which make me love her.
There is not much i would take out of context in this book. I would need to type entire passages to make it clear. Hers is a series of book worth having just to be reminded that words can be that clever, can turn that way.

I like the feeling of words doing
as they want to do and as they have to do
--Gertrude Stein


1 Comment.

In Red, Carson writes of Stesichoros’ poem:

… the fragments of the Geryoneis itself read as if Stesichoros had composed a substantial narrative poem then ripped it to pieces and buried the pieces in a box with some song lyrics and lecture notes and some scraps of meat. The fragment numbers tell you roughly how the pieces fell out of the box. You can of course keep shaking the box. “Believe me for meat and for myself,” as Gertrude Stein says. Here. Shake.

From ‘Red Meat: Fragments of Stesichoros’:

Geryon lay on the ground covering his ears The sound
Of the horses like roses being burned alive …

Arrow means kill It parted Geryon’s skulls like a comb Made
The boy neck lean At an odd slow angle sideways as when a
Poppy shames itself in a whip of Nude breeze

From ‘Autobiography of Red’:

Voyaging into the rotten ruby of the night became a contest of freedom
and bad logic. …

He burned in the presence of his mother.
I hardly know you anymore, she said leaning against the doorway of his room.
It had rained suddenly at suppertime,
now sunset was startling drops at the window. Stale peace of old bedtimes
filled the room. Love does not
make me gentle or kind, thought Geryon as he and his mother eyed each other
from opposite shores of the light. …

It was the year he began to wonder about the noise that colors make. Roses came roaring across the garden at him.
He lay on his bed at night listening to the silver light of stars crashing against the window screen. Most
of those he interviewed for the science project had to admit they did not hear
the cries of the roses
being burned alive in the noonday sun. Like horses, Geryon would say helpfully,
like horses in war. No, they shook their reads. …

Your are interested in justice?
I’m interested in how people decide what sounds like a law.
So what’s your favorite law code?
Hammurabi. Why? Neatness. For example? For example:
“The man who is caught
stealing during a fire shall be thrown into the fire.” Isn’t that good?—if
there were such a thing
as justice that’s what it ought to sound like—short. Clean. Rhythmical. …

I will call it “Origin of Time”,
thought Geryon as a terrible coldness came through the room from somewhere.
It was taking him a very long while
to set up the camera. Enormous pools of a moment kept opening around his hands
each time he tried to move them.
Coldness was planing the sides of his vision leaving a narrow canal down which
the shock— Geryon sat
on the floor suddenly. He had never been so stoned in his life. I am too naked,
he thought. This thought seemed profound.
And I want to be in love with someone. This too fell on him deeply. It is all wrong.
Wrongness came like a lone finger
chopping through the room and he ducked. What was that? said one of the others
turning towards him centuries later. …

We are amazing beings,
Geryon is thinking. We are neighbors of fire.
And now time is rushing towards them
where they stand side by side with arms touching, immortality on their faces,
night at their back.

– wof 2005-10-27 08:20 UTC