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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,492 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Simone Weil described “decreation” as “undoing the creature in us”–an undoing of self. In her first collection in five years, Anne Carson explores this idea with characteristic brilliance and a tantalizing range of reference, moving from Aphrodite to Antonioni, Demosthenes to Annie Dillard, Telemachos to Trotsky, and writing in forms as varied as opera libretto, screenplay ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Vintage (first published 2005)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,492 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canada-eh

I don't quite get all of this.

A mother's heavy love   cripplingly cold   wombed moon.
Selenian slices of operatic allure       l   i   n   e   d    volleys.
             Probing Longinus' Dream for Weil's God
                          Who fell asleep whilst her passion    S a  p  p  h   i   c
             feasted unto surcease.                            s     t    a   r    v    i   n  g.

     Don't fully understand every significance.

     This aureately-adept, inwardly-tunneling wordplay
in all of it
Barnaby Thieme
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Carson has such a prodigious command of style and form that one is tempted to overlook the lack of passion. After initial enthusiasm I increasingly feel oppressed by this claustrophobic book, which evokes an apophatic language of transcendence to articulate what is ultimately a human failing -- her failure to make contact with her own animal nature.

The intellect is depicted again and again as a point of departure, but it leads only to alienation. Humans pass through this book like the shades of
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“For when the ecstatic is asked the question, What is that love dares the self to do? she will answer: Love dares the self to leave itself behind, to enter into poverty.

Bold statement: Anne Carson is the most thrilling, innovative, and brilliant writer working today. This book is an absolute gem, breathlessly ranging from poetry to essays to criticism to opera to oratorio. I have read most of her books, and this is one of my favorites. Carson is curious and brave; she does whatever she likes. I
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thebook, poetry
I have never read anything remotely like this before.

For example:

An Opera in Three Parts
Love's Forgery

Cast: Hephaistos: lame god of the forge and husband of Aphrodite
Aphrodite: goddess of love and wife of Hephaistos
Ares: god of war and lover of Aphrodite
Volcano Chorus: 7 female robots built by Hephaistos to help him at the forge"

This collection melds beauty, mystery, philosophy, psychology, ridiculousness, wit, hilarity, the sublime, love, and more in darkness and almost rando
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's all so good, but some lyric poems just really sing. The essay on sleep and the title essay kill it. The genres are all wild n great ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Perhaps it is a matter of reader phase, perhaps it is a matter of Carson's authorial phase, but this book did not sit well with me.

I have so far read four books by Carson that have placed her in the echelon of my most-loved authors: 'Autobiography of Red' (1998), its sequel 'Red Doc>' (2013), and 'The Beauty of the Husband' (2001), all three of which have redefined, or indeed straight up defined, my notion of a verse novel; and the essay 'Eros the Bittersweet' (1986), which introduced me to the
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
this part right at the end -- “When Sappho tells us that she is “all but dead,” when Marguerite Porete tells us she wants to become an “annihilated soul,” when Simone Weil tells us that “we participate in the creation of the world by decreating ourselves,” how are we to square these dark ideas with the brilliant self-assertiveness of the writerly project shared by all three of them, the project of telling the world the truth about God, love and reality? The answer is we can’t. It is no accident ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be a writer is to construct a big, loud, shiny centre of self from which the writing is given voice and any claim to be intent on annihilating this self while still continuing to write and give voice to writing must involve the writer in some important acts of subterfuge or contradiction.

Decreation is another eclectic collection of poetry, essay, and music from the ever idiosyncratic Anne Carson. As per usual, she constructs a fantasia of historical reference, etymology, literary criticism, a
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm on a journey to read everything Anne Carson has ever written, and it's really working out for me so far.

So it's a poetry/essay/documentary script/public performance art piece script collection, with many of the seemingly discrete categories woven together by theme or character or turn of phrase, and it's really lovely to see the pieces connect. (I don't think I got all of it, you know, and I'd love to see Anne Carson write an essay on Anne Carson, but that might get too meta-- anyway, even t
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: la-femme
in short decreation starts telling about the mother of anne carson who had recently died. so what comes is something like what her relation to her mother has ment to her (i suppose). the bigger part is then dealing with three woman from three parts of history namely saphoo, marie la porette and simone weil. giving them a place for introduction and even admiration. in the core of this book lies a small abstract play by samuel becket. also monica vitti is introduced in relation to red dessert by a ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Whatever Anne Carson touches she makes entirely new---you feel like your reading something space aged (if space age wasn't a throwback term in itself).
However, how succesful this book is depends explicitly on which section you're reading at the time. It's a segmented creature, with each section loosely related to the others---for me Carson's confessional pieces are not as interesting as her academic excursions, however I know many people who only know how to read confessionally, so I can't blam
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Amazing intellectual breadth. Carson is great in every genre, and they're all found here: screenplay, opera, lyric, you name it. Also included are a few illuminating critical essays, some of which are concluded not with scholarly summations but with lyric poems that restate and take flight from the contents of the essays they tie up. The books is particularly great because if you get bored with one piece, wait a few pages and you'll not only be reading another section, but a whole different lite ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Did I understand everything in this collection? No. Does that matter at all? No.

I read this fairly quickly, without taking time to read back over parts I didn’t understand. I was able to do that seamlessly; it’s that kind of collection. It will give you something amazing regardless of how you read it. It is at once beautiful and violent, cold and passionate. I found myself crying more than once while reading. Why? I couldn’t say. I can’t say.

I’ve never read a collection like this: essays, poetry
Heidi Mckye
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
So here is the thing about Anne Carson: She's my hero. And not just because she's a serious academic in a way that I wish I was or she can pull the strangest and most beautiful associations together. It isn't that she's a Canadian or that she sometimes rides the same train line between Montreal and Toronto that I did throughout my childhood and adolescence. No. It's more than that, it is a deeper odder longing than that and it comes from somewhere inside of me, and has a great deal to do with th ...more
Keith Taylor
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another author who just can't be rated by the star system! Maybe this book isn't quite as engaging as some of her other books, but it is important for the whole picture that becomes Anne Carson. She is engaging Simone Weil and writing movingly about her ill mother. All of these things add up to the intellectual and emotional and, yes, spiritual journey of the author, one of the central ones of our time. Here's a little thing I wrote back in the day:
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The variations of form make the book a little difficult at times, but the two major essays are wholly hypnotic and mindblowing. Her writing on sleep is almost enough to let you slip into an altered state, and the eponymous essay left me speechless. I also really enjoyed the poems entitled /Gnosticisms/ and found them to be really succinct articulations of immanence and clarity.
The way I’ve been feeling about Carson recently is that some of it is very very good, some of it just seems good because it taps into particular interests, and some of it is very hollow.
Alex Robertson
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
rating weighted heavily by the two essays, which are 6/5 stars
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mostly liked it because of the Decreation essay and the opera that followed
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an intense collection of poetry, essays, and other short pieces by Carson. The whole thing is powerful, but I was most struck by the essays and opera from which the title derives. It seemed to me that those pieces served as a tribute to the passion one can have for ideas, as well as a fascinating engagement with those ideas. The spiritual connection that Carson forges between her three thinkers and the idea of selflessness and void as a kind of love and a path to god was fascinating, but ...more
Liza Pittard
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some profoundly beautiful moments in this collection, as is to be expected for me from Anne Carson (hits me always in ways I can’t explain !!)

I admire the ambition of the form of a lot of the pieces (operas, screenplay for a documentary, etc), some sections were just too dense / also bizarre, nonsensical for me to follow
some mushroom dude
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"other fears would soon return." ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just lightening bolts straight to the synapses. Better than drugs.
Aafke Romeijn
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic mix of genre, form, intertext. Truly inspiring in its freedom, clarity and depth. Will read this again.
Marc Nash
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My fist exposure to Carson, what a fascinating mind. I shall be back for more. Video review ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Anne Carson is one of my favorite writers even while I struggle with many of her books, this in particular. Based on The Glass Essay and The Autobiography of Red, I would recommend anything she writes...but this book is difficult. Sometimes Decreation is so simple it feels like it's written by a highly precocious intelligent group of fifteen year olds in a girl's boarding school and yet despite the distraction of that idea, I find everything written strangely alluring. It feels experimental, dar ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2009
Ok I am reading this again.

Finished! I must say that my only real criticism of this book is the highly personal experience of finding it very hard to fit into my life. This didn’t work well as subway reading. It is just too dense and meaty. I guess I could also say that reading this book highlighted for me that I will never be as smart as Anne Carson, but for the most part I am ok with that. In contrast to Autobiography of Red, Decreation lacks an explicit narrative, but Carson does an excelle
Heather Fowler
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anne. Carson. Blows. One. Away. LOVELY, as always. I'm binge-reading my way through as many of her books as I can this summer. The lovely thing about her work is its erudition coupled with her fascination with loss and mystery--history, literature, mothers, brothers, and lovers. :) There is not one book of hers (I have devoured) that I have not paused in admiration to revel quietly in her use of the unsaid, to consider the telling nature of her questions and her silences. Brava! This particular ...more
There are a lot of elements to this book that have flown over my head.

"Decreation" holds so many references and vocabulary that had me searching all sorts of sources in order to understand.

It's possibly odd to say that being confused by a book and having to do research to understand it makes me enjoy "Decreation" very much. I like books that make me think. I like books that have the sort of lines that ring well together like a series of synchronizing bells.

Anne Carson has an enthralling mind
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Well, I've finished reading it but I wouldn't say I'm "done" with it. What an odyssey, with many different voices and faces, which I guess is part of the aim in "undoing the creature in us". I don't feel as close to this one as I do to others of Carson's books (like Autobiography of Red or Plainwater), but the scope is vast and I look forward to digging into its pieces later, particularly the essays (which I think would then lend greater meaning to the rest, and vice versa). This idea of decreat ...more
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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 to 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 langu

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