Read Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera by Anne Carson Online


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, screenplaySimone 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, poem, oratorio, essay, shot list, and rapture. As she makes her way through these forms she slowly dismantles them, and in doing so seeks to move through the self, to its undoing....

Title : Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400043491
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 245 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera Reviews

  • Szplug
    2019-03-20 21:48

    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 wordplayin all of its crystalline loveliness                                      and Penrosian falling away upward.But I'll be damned if I don't find it  f  a  s  c  i  n  a t i n g.A slinky tonic for these                          novocaine                                   nights.

  • Barnaby Thieme
    2019-02-28 23:57

    Carson is like a centaur without the horse. She 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 the Odyssey who generate speech but not warmth. Sexuality estranges, but never unites. It's really a rather dismal view of life, and one that does not impress me. It strikes me as the rarefied ennui of an intellectual who spends far too much time in the company of books, and who would rather read of the rage of Achilles than stake her own heart in the bungled human comedy. I don't make this kind of statement lightly, but I do actually believe she should retire from teaching and go live a little. Incidentally, Carson is the greatest translator of Sappho that one can imagine, and in matters of elegant expression she lacks nothing.

  • Mariano Hortal
    2019-03-13 01:59

    Este libro, mezcla de poesía y ensayo es una absoluta maravilla. Complejo, poético, clarificador por momentos. Decreación sería la respuesta femenina a la deconstrucción si tuviera que definirlo de alguna manera. Dejarse sumergir en la poética de Carson es entrar en un universo literario donde tu cabeza solo puede explotar. Derruir las formas de los géneros para encontrar a otra persona, la persona decreada

  • Arielle
    2019-03-02 22:04

    I do love Carson's work, but this is giving me a bit of a headache. Not that her headaches don't carry some pleasure with them, but this book is rigid in a way that halts the organic content. There's a sterility here, reaching into words like "radio" and "blood" - There is something chilling but not haunting. It feels like so much is being held back, and I am only to assume Carson means to do so. She does nothing in her work accidentally, everything is primed and calculated. I like this and don't like this. Sometimes, things are hidden, emotions, people, events, even lines edited out, but here there is a feeling of hovering crudely above the surface of some great truth. I am digging but don't find that Carson truth here. But I'll keep reading, because she is brilliant and I am thinking maybe I have yet to find it.

  • Red
    2019-03-07 05:05

    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 antonioni, an italian filmer. in the last section carson is telling the three woman are fake and they will leave you hungry ever after. in the mid section clues can be found. kissing is like an eclips that is not complete marrying like full eclips of he sun. so the three ladies in the book stand for kissing i quess. and marrying stands for the advise carsons mother gave her once possibly.this book is more like a project, in fact the beginning of a project. fragmentary like 'waste land' by t.s. eliot. bits and pieces.the glass essay can be seen as a forerunner of this book. the relation with the mother becomes clear.yes read them both.

  • Pewterbreath
    2019-02-21 23:01

    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 blame her for putting it in as a doorway to her work.She plays with not just intertextuality but intermediality, from movies to poetry to music and back again. Intertext does not really impress me in itself, it's really more of my roomate's digs---I don't know that knowing every other book referred to gives one an innate understanding of the text at hand--but anyway--that's just my private opinion.

  • Tra-Kay
    2019-03-14 06:05

    I have never read anything remotely like this before.For example:"DECREATIONAn Opera in Three PartsPART ONELove's ForgeryCast: Hephaistos: lame god of the forge and husband of AphroditeAphrodite: goddess of love and wife of HephaistosAres: god of war and lover of AphroditeVolcano 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 random-seeming structure. Make no mistake, this is no light reading -- unless of course you want it to be, because it will bend for you like that. But if you want food for thought, it's "FarNear".

  • yarrow
    2019-03-17 22:52

    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.

  • Maria
    2019-03-13 21:40

    Mostly liked it because of the Decreation essay and the opera that followed

  • Alex Robertson
    2019-03-19 03:44

    rating weighted heavily by the two essays, which are 6/5 stars

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-04 02:47

    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

  • Matt
    2019-03-04 23:49

    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 nothing I say here would be as eloquent as Carson.The pairing of essays and poetry was great, especially where she discussed ideas that she then elucidated further in her poems. It gave the collection a glimpse at how exciting I imagine it must be to take one of Carson's classes.

  • Liza Pittard
    2019-03-13 22:52

    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

  • Ata
    2019-02-21 02:46

    "other fears would soon return."

  • Ellen
    2019-02-25 21:53

    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 though I sometimes get lost in her arguments or poems (or both as the same thing) her use of language and ability to say something that seems strikingly true, or to draw out nibbling themes from other people and thinkers and connect them all together is just wonderful.)So you get a bit of Sappho and a bit of Simone Weil, some of Marguerite Porete the nun/thinker/heretic who wrote about her marriage to God in these super sexual terms, and Virginia Woolf, and some more of the Greek and really just this wide net of thought, turned into [flag snapping] and words.There's also quite a bit on jealousya favorite bit (about hunger and food):"hungerlooks like mebut it is not original with me."which is connected by theme to this reminiscence on her own childhood:"In this book the various flowers composing the crowns of the martyrs were so lusciously rendered in words and paint that I had to be restrained from eating the pages. It is interesting to speculate what taste I was expecting from those pages. But maybe the impulse to eat pages isn't about taste. Maybe it's about being placed at the crossing-point of a contradiction, which is a painful place to be and children in their natural wisdom will not consent to stay there, but mystics love it."And Simone Weil: "Nothing more powerfully or more often reminds us of our physicality than food and the need to eat it. So she creates in her mind a dream of distance where food can be enjoyed perhaps from across the room merely by looking at it, where desire need not end in perishing, where the lover can stay, at the same time, near to and far from the object of her love"

  • Maryjoamani
    2019-03-10 02:58

    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, daring, and totally out of my frame of reference. There is so much of God in the book--the strangeness and inaccessibility of trying to pigeon-hole God, almost by writing in a way that is outside anything mainstream, Carson seems to capture a bit of the mysteriousness of God and of ourselves and how we, too, defy any rationality. In some ways, I might give the book a much lower rating because I feel I am worshipping at the altar of Carson's daring and courage to even put forth such a book, totally outside my own references. It may be drivel. It may be holy. I can't tell the difference. It's not for everyone, I suspect.

  • Alice
    2019-03-11 00:59

    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 toAutobiography of Red, Decreation lacks an explicit narrative, but Carson does an excellent job of leading one form (poem, essay, opera, etc) into another with overarching and evolving themes. I certainly think a second reading would be well worth it so hopefully someday I will find the time to return to this.Sara, you can have your book back now!

  • Seth
    2019-03-23 00:54

    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 literary genre. Carson demonstrates--as suspected--that she is not only a talented literary creator, but also an incisive critical voice.

  • stellato
    2019-03-24 05:03

    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 and I look forward to reading more of her work.If you want to read a challenging book with prose and poetry clean and shining like knives, this is the book for you.

  • Heather Fowler
    2019-03-20 03:58

    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 book really soothes me in a good way. I love it. Like I might take it to an island--oh, if I had to pick only a few.

  • Sara
    2019-03-08 03:50

    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 decreation, and how it's rendered in so many forms and voices, has got my mind a-turning.

  • Heidi Mckye
    2019-03-03 23:53

    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 the color red.

  • Jeca
    2019-03-13 22:44

    Half of this book was breath-taking. I especially loved the sections on film (Antonioni and Monica Vitti); the Sublimes; the essays on sleep - which, being a poor sleeper, fascinates me - and total eclipses (a particular favorite) and the final, brief piece, "Longing, A Documentary." I mostly struggled through the other half. Throughout, however, I marveled at Carson's imagination. Her strangeness unlocks something. Who else gives us so much that's learned and fun? Plus, she gives me the Greeks as I never got close to seeing them in the fog of declensions and dense paragraphs of translation.

  • Cami
    2019-03-22 02:43

    There was a lot of 5-star stuff in here. I love the poems in the beginning and loved the essay on Sleep. I enjoyed how she brought her own thoughts together with others' thoughts to make some really great points come alive.However, near the middle she lost me. You couldn't pick and choose as you can with most poetry books. The essays or liberetto had to be read in order to understand the context of the poetry and it became a lot less enjoyable to me.

  • Greta
    2019-03-13 00:59

    "What does sleep see when it looks back at us?"///"You are now inside the moon’s shadow, which is a hundred miles wide and travels at two thousand miles an hour. The sensation is stupendous. It seems to declare a contest with everything you have experienced of light and colour hitherto."That essay on sleep makes me move Virginia Woolf higher up my to-read list. A truly great read.

  • Amal
    2019-02-28 21:41


  • Farren
    2019-03-05 05:59

    Anne, I've left you for Fanny.

  • Anastacia Davis Bersch
    2019-03-20 04:56

    When should authors mix different forms? Is the form of an essay so tenuous it does not owe any allegiance to a specific form or style of writing?I find myself struggling with this book by Carson. Most of the time, I think Carson's style of fragmentation is effective. However, in Decreation, the lack of cohesion has me questioning what is considered and not considered in how Carson mixes forms. Often the mixing of essay and poem and chorus feels disorganized. If not, haphazard. I find myself having to read and re-read many portions of the book. My biggest complaint is that moving between each section does not seem to correspond or resolve any other parts. The lack of one form exacerbates this feeling. I'm reading a collection of small pieces--but for what purpose? This quality alone makes this book very hard to review. Independent of this criticism, many parts of the text are evocative. I am attracted to a few sections in particular. There are also moments where Carson's experimentation with poetry is well executed (see sections which border on concrete poetry). One Section, "Seated Figure with Red Angle (1988 By Betty Goodwin", for instance, is a good example of how I think poetry might be able to theorize images, or works of art. This section is also a pattern of Carson's I feel to be unremarked upon. That is how she uses langauge to describe images, either through format or content.

  • Maud
    2019-03-08 01:36

    So wonderful!! An homage to Carson's own inspirations and favorites, poems, plays, essays, and operas (!) informed by an intellectual study of Classical languages and philosophy but so gentle and clear in themselves that you don't need all the background study that Carson obviously has to enjoy or understand them (Although I did really like her Beckettian play about Beckett, one of the few writers she mentions who I've read)I think my favorite section is towards the end, a three part essay that has four parts, the 4th beginning, "we should brace ourselves for some inconsequentiality," about love of self and God seen through Sappho, Marguerite Porete, and Simone Weil. Carson is sly, smart, funny, and kind and somehow reading the books makes me want to be a better person????????????? Cool! I love this, read it!

  • Tim Best
    2019-03-09 04:56

    I picked up this book because of Anne Carson's previous work, 'Eros the Bittersweet' where she explains the relationship between eroticism and thought (Eros and Psyche) using ancient Greek poetry. This work didn't amplify eroticism for me as much as show how the form of poetry provided a channel for communicating desire in a dignified and meaningful way. Decreation shifts focus from being about the self to its relationships to its thoughts and surroundings. This is an important shift because Carson sends us through a delicious experience of different forms of literature. As a point of resistance, this can decreate, undo the creature in us as Simone Weil tells us. This is a hopeful message that we can lose ourselves in the things we love the most by dispersing power/agency throughout our world in way that makes us a part of the world rather than separate from it.