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Nox

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,430 ratings  ·  210 reviews
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 pa ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by New Directions
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Greg
I'm pretty thoroughly depressed after reading this. Actually after reading it twice in one sitting and after watching the second half of Kieślowski's sixth film in the Decalogue series I'm now feeling pretty fucking bleak.

Both the film and this book deal with the unknowableness of the other. In the film a young man is in love with an older woman whom he spies on from his bedroom. He watches her with lovers, stalks her, steals her mail, makes phone calls to her and then hangs up and does other c
...more
Jonathan

If, possibly, one could describe what Nox is as a work of abstract poetry it could possibly be considered a kind of meta-elegy. Because, in many different ways Nox is a haunting work that talks about the elegiac mode while existing as an elegy in and of itself. The title itself appears to be from the Latin for different variations of 'night' or 'nightfall' therefore reflecting the age-old idea of death being like sleeping or passing into shadow.

The book itself is structured like a journal with
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Emily
Some straightforward observations about Anne Carson's elegy Nox: it comes in a large box, like a rectangular room. Inside the box is a free-floating accordion-style book, which though beautiful is difficult to hold comfortably in the hand; it bends and twists as one turns the pages. The book (the room) opens with an elegy by Catullus for his dead brother, in the original Latin, whose physical appearance is smudged and water-stained, and whose import is, of course, obscure to non-Latin-speaking r ...more
Ipsith
"Prowling the meanings of a word, prowling the history of a person, no use expecting a flood of light. Human words have no main switch. But all those little kidnaps in the dark. And then the luminous, big, shivering, discandied, unrepentant, barking web of them that hangs in your mind when you turn back to the page you were trying to translate . . .
—Anne Carson, NOX

To read NOX is like unwinding an ancient scroll, or following a frieze around the porch of a temple, or tracing a history twisting
...more
Ellie
A powerful, fascinating book. A different kind of poetry. A searching for a dead brother and the meaning of his life and their relationship. An exploration of loss.

Too complicated for a quick review. I will think about this book and write a review later.
Moira Russell
Jan 24, 2011 Moira Russell marked it as to-read
This is possibly the most beautifully printed book I have ever seen, art books included. It's like magic, I can't even imagine how they did it. If fire broke out in my apartment house I would grab it, fleeing.
Kasey Jueds
I read this in one sitting... really a lovely way to approach this book, if you have the time. The first striking thing is that it's such a beautiful physical object; holding it and looking at it were as moving to me as actually reading the words. It's an accordion book (I think that's the right term) and it comes in a box; it's also a photocopy, or looks like one, of a scrapbook. Some pages have dictionary definitions of Latin words (part of the project described in Nox is translating a poem; p ...more
Lee
Negotiations with preposterous debt owed to night. Original accordian-in-a-box form, old obscure photos, handwritten frags, definitions (scans sometimes of wrinkled pages), classical refs, Basho. (David Shields [[book:Reality Hunger: A Manifesto|6712580]] would love it.) Could probably never be more than it is, by which I mean -- not to demean it -- little more than nox (strips of light at night in a box), considering the abstract relationship she apparently had with her troubled absent older br ...more
Renee
I certainly acknowledge that I am in the minority with my bleak two star rating of this well loved book and if there was a separate category for the "idea" separate from the book itself, I would give Anne Carson 5 stars for sure.

The author created this book after the death of her brother in effort to come to terms of his life and death. She did this though a series of poems, definition of words, pictures and other things meaningful to her. The book is thick, unusually shaped with fold-out pages
...more
Claudia Putnam
I've been meaning to read this since it came out. I got it from the library and if anyone wants to get it for me for Christmas or my birthday (April), I'd be fine with that... I'd like this one for my shelves.

It seems like a grief memoir, and it is, but it's also a translation attempt, failed, according to Carson, of Catallus 101, an elegy for a brother. The etymologies included are powerful and interesting, but as it dawns on you that this is part of the research for the translation, the dimen
...more
Elizabeth
Goodness. I had such a hard time returning this item to the library! Oh, Anne Carson. I have such a crush on thee.
Farren
DAMN Y'ALL.

That's all I really have to say right now. Just DAMN.
Janina Schnitzer
“Nox,” is Greek/Latin, meaning: 1. Night, 2. Darkness, 3. Dream, 4. Confusion, 5. Ignorance, 6. Death. [The Greek or Latin-English transations (of words from the Catullus elegy) show how many meanings (or what depth) a single word may have, such as Nox – which summarizes many of the themes of the book.] “Nox Frater Nox” – the title beneath the cover of Anne Carson’s book– “Frater” means: 1. Brother, 2. Friend, lover, 3. Sibling, 4. Brethren, 5. Monk. [On the majority of the left pages of Carson’ ...more
Jeff
How strange that we now have two significant elegies, published nearly together, from Carson and Robert Hass, both poets born in the decade of the War, for wastrel brothers who lived on the street, while their siblings ascended to the highest stature poets are accorded by our lights. Carson's Nox is the Latin word for night, the nothing given as a gift, an odd sort of box containing one long continuous folded tape of un-sewn signature, the verso pages containing a lexicon for the translation of ...more
Jane
(The following was written for The Millions' A Year in Reading feature, 12/20/12, occurred to me I should also post it here.)

Published as poetry, Anne Carson’s Nox is closer by far to W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz than to any book of pocketable lyrics. Ultimately uncategorizable, this physically onomatopoetic facing of the death of a long-absent, long-estranged brother comes (as effects or ashes do) in a box. The pages not sewn, not glued, but accordion-folded into one inseparable, extendable fan of
...more
Janet
An exploration of loss, of death and absence, in Anne Carson's always unique cross-genre style. Here, she uses a poem famous in latin classes across the world, Catallus 101, in which Catallus grieves the death of this brother, as a mirror in which to reflect the loss of her own estranged brother--himself haunted by the death of his one true love-- who killed himself 4 days short of a meeting they were going to have after a 20 year separation. The technique is presenting the Catallus poem being t ...more
Alexis
Anne Carson seems to exist in a strange literary no-mans land - not quite post-modern enough, not quite classicist enough, etc - but I've always enjoyed her books, her phrasing is tight and unfussy, and to I've always been biased towards writers with a good handle of economy, because that's my weakness as a writer.
Nox is the memoir of the loss of Carson's brother, told in interspersed fragmentary prose, photographs, letters and, according to Wikipedia, elements of Catullus' Carmen 101. These la
...more
Jon
I didn't quite know how to write about this what?--book? poem? artifact? shared experience?, so I scanned over earlier Goodreads reviews. Some of them are amazingly good and will give you a better idea than I can of what this experience is like. I was drawn to it after seeing a main-stream media review that said it starts as a commentary on a very famous 10-line elegy by Catullus--numbered 101, a farewell to his dead brother. This is not quite accurate. The left side of every page is a word-by-w ...more
Linda
Apr 25, 2011 Linda added it
First time I read it, I didn't get much out of it at all, except that her estranged brother had died. Okay, and she teaches ancient Greek, has a facility or fascination with languages and lexicography.
Second time I read it, 4/25/11, a week later, I got a little more. It is a sad story, but I do not get the idea that it is something so out of the ordinary. There does not seem to be much here that could or would apply to the rest of the world. It seems very personal. The form of the book itself is
...more
Rick
A scrapbook printed on accordion pages and tucked in a book-shaped box, Nox is not so much an elegy for Anne Carson’s deceased brother as a translation of grief spoken in artifacts and elusive, considered history. It is moving. It is poetic. It weighs, as history does, meaning in the meager remains of life…in Carson’s brother’s case, old photographs, childhood memories, a handful of remembered phone conversations, postcards, and (rarer) letters.

Carson, a classicist, translator, poet, and critic
...more
Mike Lindgren
To call Anne Carson’s staggering Nox a book of poetry is not quite accurate, for both its physical and psychic dimensions transcend traditional taxonomies of genre. Nox is many things: an artist’s book, a journal, a collage, an elegy, a meditation on grief, and a souvenir, in the literal sense. It is a powerful statement of personal loss couched in a language of classical rigor, a spiritual exorcism given artifactual manifestation.

To start with Nox’s physical attributes: the book is a careful fa
...more
Nicola
As I read, I kept trying to touch the edges of the pages, scraps, fragments, collages pasted on the actual pages. It was an uncanny temptation that created a paradox of intimacy and repulsion. This facsimile is NOT the original, but something closer to it than your standard book. Having read relatively recently, Carson's translation of Sappho, I couldn't help but see the backside of the accordion pages as being equally important as the front side; the white space and its incredible, indeterminat ...more
Carolyn Hembree
"It is when you are asking about something that you realize you yourself have survived it, and so you must carry it, or fashion it into a thing that carries itself." The "thing" here is NOX, a hybrid text which elegizes Carson's estranged brother. She explores the subjects of language, etymology, history, and kinship in an attempt to understand her brother. The classicist/poet presents her search through lexicon entries as well as the brother's letters, dialogue (recounted), family photographs, ...more
Jimmy
"History can be at once concrete and indecipherable. Historian can be a storydog that roams around Asia Minor collecting bits of muteness like burrs in its hide. Note that the word mute is regarded by linguists as an onomatopoeic formation referring not to silence but to a certain fundamental opacity of human being, which likes to show the truth by allowing it to be seen hiding."
Good, but not on par with her other stuff, but it's also a very different kind of book. There is something unsatisfyin
...more
Elizabeth Scott
I've been trying to read more poetry and wow, am I glad I decided to do that. This very unusual collection--it comes in a box, and the pages unfold out--is like nothing I've ever seen or read before. Anne Carson wrote it in memory of her brother and talks about him through snippets of poetry, translations of other writers' works (Carson is a classicist and did the most beautiful translation of Sappho's poetry (what little is left, anyway), called, If Not, Winter), definitions (I know, but trust ...more
Sarah
OK, it's original. The "book" lives in a cool box and needs to be unfolded into a long accordion to read it. It is an exercise in translating a Latin passage. This necessitates something of a "flippo-rama" from place to place in the accordion. Therefore, in order to read it, you need some space; it is not a mass transit read.

The practice of reading it illustrates the futility of final translation and likewise in understanding others and life itself. I get it.

I sort of raced through the whole thi
...more
Genevieve
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
...more
Jennifer Kepesh
Carson's elegy to her difficult, long-estranged brother shows how grief debrides the mind, and in so doing, how desperately it tries to bring its customary narrative, discipline, order to what is flying away from a searing center. Carson juxtaposes her calm methodical approach to her work with the shards of memories, creating a vessel for an elegy, using an elegy written by Catalius for his own brother, the Latin at the beginning of the book, her translation (which she says is still unsatisfacto ...more
Ame_Aki
Nox by Anne Carson is a close copy of an epitaph she wrote for her brother when he died. Comprised of photographs, dictionary excerpts detailing Latin words, the indents of words in a page and an organized telling of the authors thoughts and facts, Nox tells the story of Carson's musings, reactions and the actions that lead to her discovery of her brother's death as well as her memories of him and post-death events.
The style of the piece is almost reminiscent of an eulogy where blunt sentences
...more
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Have like a ballpark figure 1 2 May 17, 2015 10:42PM  
2015: The Year of...: Nox by Anne Carson 17 43 Jan 18, 2015 11:42AM  
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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...
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“Prowling the meanings of a word, prowling the history of a person, no use expecting a flood of light. Human words have no main switch. But all those little kidnaps in the dark. And then the luminous, big, shivering, discandied, unrepentant, barking web of them that hangs in your mind when you turn back to the page you were trying to translate...” 8 likes
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