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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,276 Ratings  ·  284 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 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
Jonathan Terrington

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
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
MJ Nicholls
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I purchased this beautiful artefact for my girlfriend last Xmas and received not the rapturous response required. A year later, I had a look. Too many verso entries from the Latin dictionary fail to spoil this quietly affecting and visually calorific tribute to a mercurial dead brother. It is the sort of thing that one might appreciate more in the wake of a loss, as Michael Silverblatt explains in this Bookworm episode, on which Anne Carson reads a poem from the book in Latin.
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
Cindy Newton
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books, poetry
I read this text as part of the curriculum for a university-sponsored weeklong poetry seminar. I love poetry, but readily admit that I don't read as much of it as I should. My encounter with this book and the others from that week really broadened the horizons of my limited experience.

Anne Carson uses more than her words to create her elegy for her dead brother: she uses pictures and other relics of their childhood, interviews with people from their past, and the definitions of Latin words. All
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
anne carson never ceases to make me feel everything all at once, but this book in particular has opened a hole somewhere in my chest and is currently sitting there, calm and unapologetic. i will have a hard time returning this to the library.
May 07, 2013 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
Camille A
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coeur, poésie
I don't have much to say about this work ... except that it is the highest/purest/most beautiful thing a human being can create to honor someone who has passed away. No other epitaph could surpass this one.
Nov 29, 2014 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
Dec 20, 2012 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
Aug 06, 2010 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
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
the first time I reviewed this, 7 years ago, I thought it was kind of cold and pretentious and wrote a goofy review

now I'm reading it again and it is incredibly sad and lovely and beautifully made, so now I feel like a jerk. gonna add a star and tell me from 7 years ago to have a heart, jeez louise
Moira Russell
Oct 03, 2010 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.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I had to read this book of poetry for my Modern Elegy English course at my school and I found it very interesting. This was the first elegy we had read by a female author, even though we are well over half way through our quarter. I found the poems themselves very convoluted, but they were still fascinating.

I loved the structure of the book itself. It was made to look like a continuous piece of paper, much like a timeline to which someone's life may be measured against. I thought it was really c
Jan 09, 2011 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.
Janina Schnitzer
Feb 09, 2014 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
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Jan 21, 2012 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
Apr 03, 2015 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
Carolyn Hembree
Jul 17, 2013 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
Molly Brodak
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
a lovely project...feels like a dangerously vulnerable record of her complicated feelings towards her brother's death. Could've used with less of the clinical "definitions" and more of her actual writing. Still, it was genius, and felt like such a privilege to read it.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2011 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.
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing

That's all I really have to say right now. Just DAMN.
Mike Lindgren
Dec 16, 2010 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
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A powerful exploration of grief. Nox is a collection of fragments. Anne Carson brings together every scrap left of her brother, from letters to photos, and pieces them together to preserve his memory and to work through her own grief. The work is held together with her use of Catullus 101. She deconstructs the poem, providing lexicon entries of each word, which she tailors and makes more personal as the work progresses.

Carson’s brother disappeared overseas and for over 20 years she had very lit
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-cnf
This is obviously meant to be something read over a period of time, something to be mused over, something to sit with. More a piece of art than a piece of literature. Though I guess one could argue that literature is art. I can appreciate how Carson mixed together art and prose and poetry and different forms of writing along with photographs and letters and paintings. I think a lot of what she did went over my head (umm, let's be super honest and say about 90% went over my head). But I think Nox ...more
Carrie Etter
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While I'm a great fan of Carson's work generally (I've been running an Anne Carson reading group in Bath the last few years), this was a rare experience for me in that I read most of the book in a single sitting. This is a powerful exploration of mourning/grief/loss employing Carson's familiar approach of montage/juxtaposition of her classical knowledge with her brother's death, as a scrapbook of sorts. A powerful, innovative work.
Liza Pittard
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
intoxicating read - at the beginning not being convinced of the form but then found myself feeling engulfed; style is intensely personal but also removed; left me very affected; small part of me is still unsatisfied by the form but as always I appreciated; would highly recommend reading in 1 sitting
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Have like a ballpark figure 1 5 May 18, 2015 06:42AM  
2015: The Year of...: Nox by Anne Carson 17 47 Jan 18, 2015 07:42PM  
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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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“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...” 17 likes
“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.” 2 likes
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