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Posts Tagged ‘Anne Carson’

What We’re Loving: Tragedy, Poetry, Music

July 5, 2013 | by

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I’ve been catching up on the last two issues of the Fairleigh Dickinson journal, The Literary Review. Of special brilliance: a long polyphonic poem by Leon Weinmann about Simone Weil, a bravely whiny New York poem by Rachel Zucker (“I don’t want to have coffee or not have coffee / or listen to This American Life podcast on infidelity”), and a novella by Paula Bomer, “Inside Madeleine,” about a town slut destroyed by love. It’s so arresting I raced to finish so I could pass the issue along to a friend. —Lorin Stein

Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle is a strange mixture of concert film—specifically, the 2011 tribute to the late Canadian folk singer at Town Hall—and documentary. But if at times the biographical elements are unsatisfying, the music makes it well worth seeing. Beyond the lovely McGarrigles covers from the concert (I especially liked the version of “Walking Song” performed by her son, Rufus Wainwright), we are treated to original recordings by Kate and her sister Anna, as well as the kind of impromptu jam sessions that take place when everyone in the family is a professional musician. I promptly dug out all my McGarrigle albums, and have been listening to little else since. —Sadie O. Stein Read More »

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A Mark So Fine: Joe Henry and You

May 18, 2012 | by

Photograph by Michael Wilson.

In November of 2001, I picked up Joe Henry’s album Scar and was stunned by the opening track, a slow blues number called “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.” Henry, a white man, sang from the point of view of the black icon, expressing the comedian’s love-hate relationship with himself and his audience. Henry had the audacity and sensitivity to pull it off, with help from a spiraling, dipping, dripping saxophone solo by Ornette Coleman.

Scar was released in May of that year. Henry couldn’t have known how tearful the nation would be that fall. He closed the album with these lines from the title track, sung in a careful, mournful tempo:

The blade of our outrageous fortune,
Like a parade, it cuts a path.
Light shows on our foolish way
And darkness on
Our aftermath.

If I love you, to save myself
And you love me because we are
So fool to think that our parade
Could leave a path
And not a scar.
And I love you with all I am
And you love me with what you are,
As pretty as a twisting vine
A mark so fine
But still a scar.

The album resonated with me throughout that first post–September 11 holiday season, more than Dylan’s “Love and Theft”, which was released on that particular Tuesday, a coincidence that generated new claims of clairvoyance from Dylanologists. Henry’s album cuts deeper. Read More »

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Dear Peggy Olson, Nice to Meet You

April 25, 2012 | by

Dear Peggy Olson,

I haven’t heard back from Don, so I thought I’d try you instead. Draper might be a lost cause anyway, hormonal and unhinged, prone to mood swings and irrational behavior. One minute he’s weeping with wussy regret, and the next he’s attacking Megan with the cold-eyed ferocity of a grizzly bear or a Law and Order villain. I don’t know what’s gotten into the guy, but I suspect it might be my fault, these missives from the future fucking up his fragile worldview.

He’s starting to remind me of this basketball player, Ron Artest. Artest was a baller for a while and a tough bastard, fighting fans in the stands and whatnot. Then he went through a spiritual awakening, did Dancing with the Stars, and legally changed his name to World Peace. A new man, or so we all thought. Until Sunday, when he elbowed some dude in the face just for having a sweet Mohawk. Maybe Heraclitus was right about character being fate.

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Cathy Park Hong on ‘Engine Empire’

August 23, 2011 | by

The summer issue of The Paris Review includes a series of poems by Cathy Park Hong. Hong has published two books of poetry, Translating Mo’um (2002) and Dance Dance Revolution (2007). She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

The poems published in this issue come from a longer work, entitled “Fort Ballads.” How does it fit into your forthcoming book, Engine Empire?

“Fort Ballads” is part of the first section in Engine Empire. The poems in the collection range from a trilogy, ranging from Western ballads to love poems set in present-day industrial China to poems set in a virtual future. “Fort Ballads” follows a band of outlaw fortune-seekers who travel to a California boomtown during the 1800s. The boomtown isn’t real; it’s full of strange, violent, sometimes surreal happenings. It’s my own way of mythologizing California, which is where I’m from. The main character is “Our Jim,” who’s half Comanche Indian. In creating him, I was thinking of the typical iconic Western guys, like Billy the Kid, but his story is also reminiscent of Huck Finn and maybe a little of Faulkner’s Joe Christmas. He’s an orphan, a cipher, a boy trapped between identities, both innocent and vengeful. But the section isn’t all narrative—there are sound poems in there as well, where I let myself wallow in kitschy Western vernacular. Read More »

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