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Glass, Irony and God

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  2,184 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Known as a remarkable classicist, Anne Carson weaves contemporary and ancient poetic strands with stunning style in Glass, Irony and God. This collection includes: "The Glass Essay," a powerful poem about the end of a love affair, told in the context of Carson's reading of the Brontë sisters; "Book of Isaiah," a poem evoking the deeply primitive feel of ancient Judaism; an ...more
Paperback, 142 pages
Published November 17th 1995 by New Directions (first published 1995)
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Sep 11, 2015 Mariel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: god fulfilling prophecies
Recommended to Mariel by: fly by
She whached the bars of time, which broke.
She whached the poor core of the world,
wide open.
‘The Glass Essay’

Flesh in after-glow math, reading without the lights. Her mother puts their things in the kitchen with the groceries. They parallel lapping, buzzing and caged birds the talk. I don’t know. I see the mother in flickering tv from before. Father/husband in hospital and doesn’t know who he is. The daughter time travels because an affair is over. Anger wakes up mornings. Emily Bronte, the wha
Jan 24, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Sometimes a book find you at exactly the right moment. I was in college and had a very limited knowledge of comtemporary (still living and writing) writers. I was chalk full of PLath and Sexton and Lowell and Whitman and then through a small series of events this book entered my life and I don't think anything I have ever written has been the same since.

There aren't a lot of words I can write that will do the book justice, but I will say on the record that I have yet to find more than a tiny han
May 22, 2013 Troy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013, poetry
All talk about God generally bores the hell out of me. It's like listening to bros talk about sports. I don't get it; I don't get the importance; I don't understand the bonding and meaning that sports/God provides. So all the God stuff in this book didn't do much for me (and that includes Carson's frequent mention of soul etc., even if it's predicated with a certain amount of skepticism, it reminds me of my current arty male friends who are secret sports fans – they preface sports talk with an i ...more
Helen McClory
Jan 01, 2016 Helen McClory rated it it was amazing
Contains my favourite poem/essay of all time and is pretty much brain-stretching brilliance throughout.
Alex Robertson
Dec 26, 2014 Alex Robertson rated it liked it
3.5. big fan of the first and last pieces
Mar 21, 2016 Northpapers rated it it was amazing
Is there a great poet of our lifetimes? I'm not qualified to answer the question, but Anne Carson may be the great poet of my personal, reading lifetime so far, at least.

This work is well-rooted in classical thought and in narrative movement and scene. So when Carson shapes something new, it carries in its new sprigs the massive weight of Western thought. Its innovations, observations, and protests are all worthy of their history.

Glass, Irony and God is a series of poems (I'm tempted to call the
Apr 09, 2009 Aran rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I only really liked the Glass Essay... but man, I really, really liked it.
Jan 15, 2017 betsy rated it it was amazing
She is a citizen of the ancient republic.
historian of its wars
and ravishing

Mar 23, 2015 Julia rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
my used copy has marginalia on the title page (well, it's a title page, so i suppose it's not marginalia so much as it's just writing...) that says, following an arrow drawn from anne carson's name, "she is a very bookish poet. her poetry couldn't exist w/out the whole foundation of western culture." which, like...yeah? anne carson and everyone else? that's kind of how literature works? it builds? each work of literature is not a singular monolith, a miraculous gift from the heavens? i get this ...more
Charlotte J.
Feb 17, 2017 Charlotte J. rated it it was amazing
Still processing this. Don't think I'll be done with it for a good, long while. In the mean time, I'm working up a wish list of all her works and wondering in what order to proceed..
"Some people watch, is all I can say."

A really great collection of poetry and essay, crowned with 'The Glass Essay': a meditation on lost love, mortality, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights , with Charlotte Bronte as guide. I came to this book mostly interested in Carson's poem "The Fall of Rome", but this is a Jamesian excercise in place: more a meditation of the internal feeling of foreign-ness than a meditation on landscape, which I was looking for. (It is not less of a work, though, becau
Feb 09, 2016 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016

1. ‘the glass essay’; las het nu voor de derde keer en weer dacht ik: dit is 't beste dat ik ooit heb gelezen. misschien niet waar, maar wel op het moment dat ik het lees. dus wellicht wél waar.

2. ik zal niet doen alsof ik begrijp wat anne carson allemaal zegt en ziet en denkt. ik weet niet of ik dat ooit zal kunnen, of iemand anders dan carson dat ooit zal kunnen. ik weet niet of dat wel de bedoeling is, van poëzie, van carsons poëzie. (dat is waarom het zo interessant is.)

3. uit
Laurie Neighbors
May 08, 2010 Laurie Neighbors rated it it was amazing
Rivals my dedication, even, to Autobiography of Red. Now I'm kicking myself for not having read it sooner. I was wary that the book would not be able to keep up its running start from "A Glass Essay," but I was intrigued by "TV Men," and so entranced by "The Fall of Rome" that I started it over again when I read the last installment, before going on to the rest of the book. The essay at the end, "The Gender of Sound" provides clues for you to unravel when reading Plainwater, which would be a sma ...more
Aug 02, 2014 Chaneli rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
My most favorite thing about this book is the Glass essay which discusses Emily Dickinson, a daughter and mother, etc. I cannot properly explain my thoughts about this book but Anne Carson is seriously one of my favorite writers of all time with the way she tackles form and greek mythology and makes the reader think more outside the box. There's a lot of discussion about religion, the fall of Rome, as well and towards the end she has a short essay titled The Gender of Sound which discusses the w ...more
Apr 29, 2011 Jimmy rated it really liked it
Re-read. In the haze of my formative reading, this book was lost in the shuffle among all the other Carson books. I hardly remember it at all, but I can see why now. It's good but not memorable. It seems a mixed bag. 'Glass' and 'God' are predictably good pieces with that predictably Carsonian line of searching melancholy to it (this is not a bad thing), but 'The Fall of Rome' was good in a way I did not remember, it had a lightness and aimlessness to it, along with an easy humor.
It is important
Anastasios Kozaitis
Mar 31, 2007 Anastasios Kozaitis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like to read good literature
Literature is news that stays news, Pound said. Carson understands this premise.

Upon reading her God poems, James Laughlin said that this was the poet he had been waiting all his life for. This from a man who published Pound, the Williamses (William Carlos and Tennessee), Rexroth, Creeley, Davenport, Lorca, Empson, Paz, HD, Bei Dao, Hesse, Henry Miller, Borges, Barthwaite, Bunting, et al. He might know a thing or three about poetry, huh?

Note: I state that I am currently reading this, but I have
Elizabeth Rogers
Jun 29, 2015 Elizabeth Rogers rated it really liked it
The poetry in this collection is thought-provoking and unique. Carson blends themes and characters and areas of interest I find fascinating, but if the classics and the Brontes aren't really your thing, know you might need to have a bit more patience here with the poetry. My favorite poetry section here was "TV Men." The final essay of the collection, "The Gender of Sound," though, was by far the highlight of the text. An interesting look into the gendered politicization of sound, this final ess ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it
"THE GLASS ESSAY" is the five-star moment of this collection. Of note is her ability to move--fluidly or jarringly--between lyric and narrative moments in this essay.

As always, Carson is able to sustain multiple narratives within the same poetic work; the story of narrator-mother, of narrator-Law, of Thou-thou, of Charlotte and Emily Bronte, of narrator-Emily--these talk back and forth as if they are all happening at once. And maybe they are. Anne Carson's writing seems to reveal that historica
Eugene Varnedoe
Jan 27, 2015 Eugene Varnedoe rated it really liked it
I found this a more compelling collection of poetry than "What Men Do In the Off Hours". Anne Carson always remains fresh, sharp and although her patterns of writing become more exposed with each book one reads, her style is chameleonic thanks to her ability to stave off the caricature-able nature that other writers find themselves in after such a prolific and well received career. Highly recommend.
sarah louise
Mar 09, 2012 sarah louise rated it liked it
I was, for some reason, surprised at the nature of these poems, and sometimes disappointed. This is not to say the poetry is undeserving, but that the kind of work I was expecting was rare.

I came to the book for TV Men, and was not disappointed at all for these poems. They are a marvel of anachronistic metaphorical metaphysics. Lovely. Useful. Next most useful/marvelous all the poems about Isaac.
Vincent Scarpa
May 16, 2016 Vincent Scarpa rated it liked it
Mehhh. I love Carson, I think she's a genius, and I think this is a pretty weak book. "The Glass Essay" and "The Gender of Sound" are the only two essays/poems worth reading, IMHO, and I'm not as crazy about the former as everyone else seems to be. The Beauty of the Husband, Nox, and Plainwater remain the books of Carson's of which I am most in awe.
Jun 26, 2007 Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know you want to read poems about Isaiah in the Bible. Also the Brontes. You know you do.
Arelis Uribe
Dec 15, 2015 Arelis Uribe rated it really liked it
Sep 13, 2007 Shaindel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves poetry or needs to love poetry
Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. Especially the first section on Emily Bronte.
Feb 06, 2017 Magpie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readathon17, poetry
readathon17: A book of poetry

The Glass Essay was fantastic, but many of the other poems were rather impenetrable.
May 31, 2014 Annie rated it it was amazing
Britt MacKenzie-Dale
Aug 09, 2016 Britt MacKenzie-Dale rated it it was amazing
Ben Schultz
May 12, 2017 Ben Schultz rated it liked it
The Glass Essay is wonderful - 5 stars for that. The rest ranges from good to meh.
mel burkeet
Aug 03, 2014 mel burkeet rated it it was amazing
Precise, powerful, feminist. The poems, in their strange and straightforward way, remind me of the work of Mary Ruefle. They are not hard to read, but they're smart and well-crafted. Carson's work is political, narrative, and full of allusions, though the juice of the poems, the fun in reading this book, is in individual lines--descriptions that are fresh and yet dead-on.

Some of my favorite lines:

"Perhaps the hardest thing about losing a lover is / to watch the year repeat its days."

"Brilliant a
Mar 08, 2017 Anna rated it it was ok
i read this for the glass essay which was gr9 but the rest was a bit meh tbh, except from the great essay, the gender of sound at the end of this collection :)
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Anne Carson is a Canadian poet, essayist, translator and professor of Classics. Carson lived in Montreal for several years and taught at McGill University, the University of Michigan, and at Princeton University from 1980-1987. She was a 1998 Guggenheim Fellow. and in 2000 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also won a Lannan Literary Award.

Carson (with background in classical language
More about Anne Carson...

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“You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.
Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?”
“You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.
Why hold onto all that?

And I said,
Where do I put it down?”
More quotes…