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Nox

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,704 Ratings  ·  237 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
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
...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
...more
David Schaafsma
An elegy for an older brother Carson grew up with but she didn't know as an adult, really. The last twenty-two years of his life, she had five phone calls from him. Two weeks after he died she was contacted by his last wife, who revealed that the love of his life was really another woman he had never married. We learn Carson's mother mourned his loss for much of her life. We don't know much about Carson's own relationship to her brother. Not really.

Carson is the amazing Canadian classicist and p
...more
Matthew
Apr 16, 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 assembly 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 ("he
...more
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
Mar 31, 2014 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
...more
Lee
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
Ellie
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.
Renee
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
...more
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
Jane
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
...more
Heather
Sep 09, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
Form follows function, but Anne Carson’s Nox causes one to examine this phrase in greater detail. More importantly, this work causes a challenge to the definition of poetry. Carson has created a multifaceted elegy to her brother, but she has done more than just that. She has formed a book of poetry that reaches into the pockets of visual art and borrows the ability to convey meaning through words, form, and pictures.

The most obvious characteristic about Nox to note is its unique format. The page
...more
Zach Linge
Sep 07, 2015 Zach Linge rated it really liked it
Fascinating. When a collection of poems comes in a box shaped as if it were a hardcover book—when this box contains a lengthy, single, folded sheet of paper sufficient to line the walls of one’s bedroom—when the collection is written by Anne Carson—you know, before reading, that what you’ve encountered will expand and challenge your notion of poetry in content and in form. Anne Carson’s NOX elegizes her estranged brother, Michael, in a facsimile of this work’s previous form: journal pages, clipp ...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
Mar 05, 2014 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.
Farren
Apr 18, 2012 Farren rated it it was amazing
DAMN Y'ALL.

That's all I really have to say right now. Just DAMN.
Corrine
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
Rebecca
Dec 20, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
wow
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
Jeff
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
Janet
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
Alexis
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
...more
Jon
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
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
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
...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
...more
Nicola
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
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
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
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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  
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  • Trilogy: The Walls Do Not Fall / Tribute to the Angels / The Flowering of the Rod
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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 eighteen books as of 2013, all of which blend the forms of poetry, essay, prose, criticism, translatio ...more
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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
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