This Terrible Glare

Anne Carson, “The Art of Poetry No. 88,” interview by Will Aitken, The Paris Review 171, Fall 2004″

CARSON

Yes, a glare from behind the set where I’m standing. So if I’m a little actor on stage, there’s this terrible glare coming from behind me. And people feel that. I don’t feel it, but I’m aware of it going past me, and I see dismay on their faces mixed with this other thing. I think that’s why sometimes I am spooky to people. Because this glare is mixed with an infantile charm that disarms. And they have to deal with both.

INTERVIEWER

But what is that glare?

CARSON

I don’t know. It’s just absolute dread. It’s bumping up against the fact that you die alone. You think about that from time to time all through life, and it continues to make no sense against all the little efforts you make to be happy and have friends and pass the time.

The Magic of Fragments

Anne Carson, “The Art of Poetry No. 88,” interview by Will Aitken, The Paris Review 171, Fall 2004″

In Sappho’s poem, her addresses to gods are orderly, perfect poetic products, but the way — and this is the magic of fragments — the way that poem breaks off leads into a thought that can’t ever be apprehended. There is the space where a thought would be, but which you can’t get hold of. I love that space. It’s the reason I like to deal with fragments. Because no matter what the thought would be if it were fully worked out, it wouldn’t be as good as the suggestion of a thought that the space gives you. Nothing fully worked out could be so arresting, so spooky.”