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4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,846 Ratings  ·  246 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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Jan 20, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 23, 2016 Ipsith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"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
Sep 19, 2016 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
In scrapbook form, Anne Carson has set out to create an epitaph / portrait of her brother. True to scrapbook form, Nox is an assemblage of fragments. Her brother, too, is portrayed as a fragmented person ("His voice was like his voice with something else crusted on it, black, dense..."). She withholds his name until the end. Even then, she does not provide his birth name, but his assumed name (having changed his name after running away to escape arrest).

Their relationship, too, is fragmented ("h
Nov 16, 2010 Lee rated it liked it
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
Jun 27, 2015 Ellie rated it it was amazing
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.
Jessica D. Bicking
I picked this up last night, the title seemed to demand it, when I couldn’t sleep and read it three times in one sitting. It was quite touching and left me in a mellow, somber mood remembering ghosts. I would have cried, i think, if that was something that came easy to me, and then at the end of my third reading at least sad was calm enough for me to fall asleep.

Nox is an elegy to Carson’s brother, a coming to terms with loss and the unknowability of an Other, through the translation of an ancie
Dec 20, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing
(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
Kasey Jueds
Jan 09, 2012 Kasey Jueds rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Carolyn Hembree
Jul 21, 2013 Carolyn Hembree rated it it was amazing
"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
Aug 25, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Goodness. I had such a hard time returning this item to the library! Oh, Anne Carson. I have such a crush on thee.
Dec 20, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Apr 18, 2012 Farren rated it it was amazing

That's all I really have to say right now. Just DAMN.
Janina Schnitzer
Feb 09, 2014 Janina Schnitzer rated it liked it
“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
Mike Lindgren
Dec 16, 2010 Mike Lindgren rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
Nov 05, 2010 Alexis rated it really liked it
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
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
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
May 08, 2010 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
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
Jul 09, 2010 Jeff rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 10, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
Jul 16, 2010 Jon rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2015 Renee rated it it was ok
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
Dec 26, 2010 Nicola rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 13, 2015 Corrine rated it really liked it
Ann Carson's Nox is quintessential Carson in the way that it makes you feel like the most unintelligent particle in the universe. Why is this woman so smart? This book uses the juxtaposition of the left hand page (being the deconstructed definition of the poem Catullus 101 word by word) and the right hand page (being thoughts and short memories of her deceased brother.) Throw in some collages, pictures and paintings where the language needs to be seen and you have a elegy scrapbook. This book co ...more
"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
Elizabeth Scott
Apr 15, 2010 Elizabeth Scott rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 16, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
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
Dec 08, 2015 Will rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2015
A phenomenal achievement in publishing by itself, the author explores her emotions over the passing of her brother through the prism of Poem 101 by Catullus, with the definition of each Latin word on facing pages from her clipped, collage, written, and typed snippets of thought and memory. You'll run your fingers across the page in disbelief that these effects were printed instead of genuinely pasted or stapled.
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Have like a ballpark figure 1 3 May 17, 2015 10:42PM  
2015: The Year of...: Nox by Anne Carson 17 46 Jan 18, 2015 11:42AM  
  • Blood Dazzler
  • The Descent of Alette
  • Chronic
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho
  • Alphabet
  • One with Others: [a little book of her days]
  • The Book of Frank
  • Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
  • The Cloud Corporation
  • Jane: A Murder
  • My Emily Dickinson
  • Space, in Chains
  • The Trees The Trees
  • The Tunnel: Selected Poems
  • My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry
  • Trances of the Blast
  • A Village Life
  • Eunoia
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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“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...” 11 likes
“Repent means "the pain again.” 1 likes
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