decreator

INTERVIEWER
Do you think of yourself as having a relationship with God?


CARSON
No. But that’s not bad. I think in the last few years, since I’ve been working on Decreation and reading a lot of mystics, especially Simone Weil, I’ve come to understand that the best one can hope for as a human is to have a relationship with that emptiness where God would be if God were available, but God isn’t. So, sad fact, but get used to it, because nothing else is going to happen.


INTERVIEWER
He’s not available because he chooses to remove himself or he’s not available because he doesn’t exist?


CARSON
Neither. He’s not available because he’s not a being of a kind that would fit into our availability. “Not knowable,”as the mystics would say. And knowing is what a worshiper wants to get from God—the sense of being in an exchange of knowledge, knowing and being known. It’s what anybody wants from any relationship of love, and the relationship with God is supposed to be one of love. But I don’t think any kind of knowing is ever going to materialize between humans and gods.


INTERVIEWER
Is it stymied because of the nature of the beast?


CARSON
Because of the difference of the two orders. If God were knowable, why would we believe in him?

—  Anne Carson, The Art of Poetry No. 88
If only I could see a landscape as it is when I am not there. But when I am in any place I disturb the silence of heaven by the beating of my heart.
—  Simone Weil, from Gravity and Grace - quoted in Anne Carson’s Decreation: How Women Like Sappho, Marguerite Porete, and Simone Weil Tell God.
HEPHAISTOS : My theory is
I could split my heart on the anvil
and put her inside
and weld it together again
then there she’d stay
till the end of time
there she’d stay
in no one’s heart
but mine
and I know
our love would grow
freer and brighter
with every stroke of the hammer.
—  Anne Carson, excerpt of Aria of Brittle Failure Theory

The word [jealousy] comes from ancient Greek zelos meaning “zeal” or “hot pursuit.” A jealous lover covets a certain location at the center of her beloved’s affection only to find it occupied by someone else. If jealousy were a dance it would be a pattern of placement and displacement. Its emotional focus is unstable. Jealousy is a dance in which everyone moves. [Anne Carson, from Decreation: How Women Like Sappho, Marguerite Porete, and Simone Weil Tell God.]