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Glass, Irony and God
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Glass, Irony and God

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,448 ratings  ·  94 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 October 1st 1995)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,685)
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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
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
"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, becaus
Laurie Neighbors
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
Anastasios Kozaitis
Mar 31, 2007 Anastasios Kozaitis rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Melissa Barrett
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
Hai-Dang Phan
For Carson, metaphor is god. These poems prove that god exists. Reading "The Glass Essay" and "The Truth About God," by far my two favorite pieces in the book, reminded me of what I thought after reading Milton's Paradise Lost for the first time: they should have given me this to read in Sunday school.
Sep 13, 2007 Shaindel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves poetry or needs to love poetry
Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. Especially the first section on Emily Bronte.
Apr 09, 2009 Aran rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I only really liked the Glass Essay... but man, I really, really liked it.
Robert Beveridge
Anne Carson, Glass, Irony, and God (New Directions, 1995)

Every review of Anne Carson's Glass, Irony, and God that I've come across since I read it myself has mentioned the book's first poem, “The Glass Essay,” and called it, in one form or another, the book's strongest work. (Some of them do this by mentioning only this piece, so I admit to some inference on my part there.) And I will add my voice to that chorus; “The Glass Essay” is the piece in this book that makes it worth your time. I didn't
Courtney Johnston
I don't think I understand Anne Carson, but I think I could come to love her.

The first long poem in this collection - The Glass Essay - is the least oblique, the easiest to grasp. A woman, freshly unloved by a man she calls Law, takes a pile of books, including her favourite author Emily Bronte, and goes to stay with her mother. She takes us inside her head - her reflections on Bronte, who wrote about passion without physically experiencing it herself, and whose words were edited by her sister;
Black Elephants
A teacher told me that she always introduces newbies to Anne Carson through Glass, Irony and God, and I was not disappointed.

Excerpt from "The Glass Essay"


Three silent women at the kitchen table.
My mother’s kitchen is dark and small but out the window
there is the moor, paralyzed with ice.
It extends as far as the eye can see

over flat miles to a solid unlit white sky.
Mother and I are chewing lettuce carefully.
The kitchen wall clock emits a ragged low buzz that jumps

once a minute over the tw
"Glass, Irony, and God" makes me wish I gave every other book on my goodreads READ shelf a star lower so I could boost this one up. My God. "Glass Essay," the first in the book was an excellent read to take on right before a big family holiday like Thanksgiving:

My education, I have to admit, has been gappy.
The basic rules of male-female relations
were imparted atmospherically in our family,

no direct speech allowed.

This essay, forty pages in tercets, accomplishes much, moves momentum into "The Tru
I managed never to read this in its entirety until now, but:

"imagining someone vast to whom I may vent the swell of my soul..."
"Teresa lived in a personal black cube"
"Some days he felt uterine. Mind screwed into him by a thrust of sky."

"What is the holiness of the citizen?
It is to open
a day
to a stranger
who has no day
of his own."

"His method of knowing something is to eat it."

"From that time
all his angels
have the one

The opening "Glass Essay" is both a brilliant heartbreak poem and biogra
There are three things I know about Anne Carson:

She is the size and strength of a thumbnail.
The air that she takes into her mouth has a weight that can only be explained in her third book.
Her knowledge is like the knowledge that someone has of their own elbows: half-seen.

The glass is predictably cold. The kind you heave your whole weight onto. The windows are not windows exactly, but books that you browse, flicking ticks of frost from the words. Softness unrolls on the other side, in the back fl
Entertaining. My favorite part is "The Glass Essay," a plainspoken poem about a relationship just ended with parallels drawn to Bronte. Some raw moments. "The Truth About God" has some interesting poems; many are too cutesy for my taste, though. I was indifferent to the next three poems. "The Gender of Sound," which is basically an essay, raises some very interesting points.

Besides this book, I have read Carson's "The Autobiography of Red," which I was not a huge fan of. Her topics tend to inter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have come to accept that this is just not one of my favorite Anne Carson books -- and otherwise, I am normally completely enamored. I've started & restarted this book at least 2 or 3 times in the past few years, and a few more times before that, but somehow I get lost about halfway through (right after the "TV Men" section). The first section, The Glass Essay, is fantastic. But after that it kind of trails off for me. I can honestly say that I finally gave up the fight and have accepted th ...more
Excellent, as usual, although the "TV Men" series of poems I felt lacked some of the power of her other work. Still, can't go wrong with Anne Carson. I found the Glass essay to be particularly moving, and I recommend reading it in one sitting.
this book is killing me. such beauty in the middle of all this noise. the glass essay makes me weep every single time i read it. it hits chords that i honestly wasn't even aware i possessed.

"You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.

Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?"
always, this.
I really enjoyed the opening poem "The Glass Essay" and the closing essay "The Gender of Sound," but the poems in between didn't do too much for me - but I am more than willing to admit the classical and biblical subject matters are beyond me.
Dc Lozano
I'm not sure there is a more important voice than that of Anne Carson. Everything she writes is a gift - an opportunity to expand. And so - next time I walk into a familiar room, I may accidentally bump into something new.
Anne Carson knows how to peice together a multi-format book, that's for sure. Didn't like it as much as autobiography of red, but liked it. This may seem like an old saw coming from me, and hear me out before y'all start invoking bologna sandwiches and orientalism, but: what would happen if Carson considered some non-Greek myths? I like her attention to detail, and wonder how China might stand up? It would sure make statements like "Putting a door on the female mouth has been an important part o ...more
After ordering this book on Amazon, I was surprised to discover a book with the same cover, the same author, even the same ISBN, but no Irony. Yes, my copy is missing not only the Irony from the title, but also a comma and the poems "The Book of Isaiah" and "The Gender of Sound". How disappointing, yet intriguing. My copy did have included Carson's "Short Talks", and the collection is a great one. Especially poignant is "The Glass Essay" and her examination of Emily Bronte in the context of a br ...more
Jul 02, 2008 Katie added it
I hope one might be able to disregard the cult-like status of Anne Carson. It works against her. My feeling is that if she thought herself representative of any group, she would give up poetry all together.

That said, I'm so happy I read this. It took only a day or so (unusual, for me, when it comes to poetry). She is a maverick of what it means to be timeless, not indicitive of a period, but merely an astute observer of time as a whole. She does this with a fresh kind of effervesence and paradox
Gabriel Oak
I'm on an Anne Carson kick. This book collects some of her finest narrative poetry, including "The Glass Essay" and "TV Men," both of which are deceptively simple and deeply powerful.
Read this if only for the first poem, The Glass Essay. It's about family, about a mother, a daughter, a father, and it is not about that. It is a poem I can return to over and over again and marvel at the skill, at Carson's ability to make me identify with her characters. I struggle with some of Carson's work, even while finding it strangely informative while totally confusing, but The Glass Essay is one of her more accessible works. A good place to start. Along with The Autobiography of Red.
Jamie Grefe
I found this an engaging and insightful book of poetry/thought/fiction/nonfiction. For some reason Carson's brilliant use of the simile stuck out to me. She is a much better simile-creator than myself and I feel I can learn a lot from her poetics (esp. The Glass Essay, which is one of the best and most difficult things I've read in years). I also quite enjoyed how she chooses to end the book with a beautiful yet academic essay on a fascinating topic, which you'll have to read to discover.
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A professor of the classics, with background in classical languages, comparative literature, anthropology, history, and commercial art, Carson blends ideas and themes from many fields in her writing. She frequently references, modernizes, and translates Ancient Greek literature. She has published fifteen books as of 2010, all of which blend the forms of poetry, essay, prose, criticism, translation ...more
More about Anne Carson...
Autobiography of Red The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos Nox Eros the Bittersweet Plainwater: Essays and Poetry

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