Nox
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Nox

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,161 ratings  ·  189 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...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
"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
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
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.
Farren
DAMN Y'ALL.

That's all I really have to say right now. Just DAMN.
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
Elliot
Multas per gentes et multa per aequore vectus... begins one of the most beautiful poems in any language.

Catullus, the Roman poet, could not attend his brother's funeral, and he describes his belated journey to visit his brother's mute ashes and offer piddly gifts and a poem. We know nothing about the poet's brother, for he tell us nothing, only that he died too young. The poet writes of the absurdity of grief; Catullus knows his actions are pointless, and that his funerary gifts simply fulfil a...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
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
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
Elena Silva
While Nox first appears as a memoir of Anne Carson’s relationship with her brother, to me, it reads as historical fiction. The most blatantly surprising aspect of Nox is its constructions–accordion pages, which can be spread out so that the reader may see all the pages at once, or folded in hundreds of different combinations so that readers may see different pieces of the story as they choose. Because the physical form of her book gives readers such freedom in how they would like to read it, it...more
Kari Hyland
Carson's "Nox" takes the shape of letters, photographs, and poems that have been pieced together in the order of deciphering a poem by Catullus. She alternates between translating words of the ancient poem into English (typically on the left side of the "page") and includes personal pieces about her brother that relate to the translated word on the right side of the "page." In actuality, the book is really one long page folded into the form of a book. This generates the feeling of a journey that...more
Ximena
Feb 10, 2014 Ximena added it
Anne Carson’s Nox (Night) is an elegy written in response to the death of the author’s brother, Michael. It begins with the Latin version of Catullus’ 101st poem and proceeds by breaking it up and giving translational definitions of each word in the poem on the left side of each page. On the right side, Carson tells the story of their estranged relationship and his subsequent death while trying to piece together the type of person her brother might have been. Her use of typed up and wrinkled she...more
Kelie
Nox
The deep emotions of Carson’s family, and the meaning/interpretation of words.
An accordion style book. Not individual pages bound together, but a whole piece printed upon and folded. You can still turn the pages like a typical book, keeping the order of the folds. You can open up a few pages at a time- taking in the spread you can. You can throw it across the room, off a building, or light it on fire. Or you can find a space to open the book up in its entirety.
Emotions, emotional history, and...more
Jonah
Feb 10, 2014 Jonah added it
Anne Carson's "Nox" unfolds bizarrely (both in a poetic sense and in a literal, accordion-style way), telling the story of her brother's death and his decided non-presence in her life up until that point. Her brother left for Europe and maintained very little contact with his sister and mother (despite the latter's attempts to reach him). In Europe, he fell in love with a girl named Anna and never fully recovered from her death. He married twice. During his childhood, he liked for Anne to do his...more
Josephine L.
“Nox” is an elegy mixed with a scrapbook, memoir, and eulogy in which Anne Carson dedicates to her estranged and passed brother through a series of poetry, definitions of Latin words, and scraps of images. Through the piece, Carson reveals a trail of details that allow the readers to pick up hints of her relationship with her brother. Running away from a jail sentence, Carson’s brother sporadically contacts his family only through five phone calls and one postcard in a span of twenty-two years....more
Sandra Jiang
Anne Carson’s Nox is an elegy, a waltz told through a tango between the detachments Carson has to her deceased older brother and a word-by-word translation and breakdown of Cattulus' 101st poem, also dedicated to a dead brother. Carson had a distant relationship to her brother; he ran away from home, only to be heard from every now and then within the course of 5 years, and then again just a mere two weeks before his death. Carson met her brother’s widow, uncovering his past of jail summons, rel...more
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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
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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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