decreator

Anne Carson: Gnosticism I

Heaven’s lips! I dreamed
of a page in a book containing the word bird and I
entered bird.
Bird grinds on,

grinds on, thrusting against black. Thrusting
wings, thrusting again, hard
banks slap against it either side, that bird was exhausted.

Still, beating, working its way and below in dark woods
small creatures
leap. Rip

at food with scrawny lips.
Lips at night.
Nothing guiding it, bird beats on, night wetness on it.
A lion looks up,
Smell of adolescence in these creatures, this ordinary
night for them. Astonishment

inside me like a separate person,
sweat-soaked. How to grip.
For some people a bird sings, feathers shine. I just get this this.

And so Carly Rae becomes somewhat of an unlikely mystic. In Decreation, the poet Anne Carson wrote about art without a personal center—a hole in the middle, left open for God. Carly Rae has resuscitated this idea, shot it through with molten sugar and planted it in genre. She’s displaced herself from the center of the pop album, a self-centered form, designating love—or E  • MO • TION, the album’s title—as her god.

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  • Odi et Amo Ergo Sum (1986)
  • Eros the Bittersweet (1986)
  • Glass, Irony, and God (1992)
  • Short Talks (1992)
  • Plainwater (1995)
  • Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (1998)
  • Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Ceos with Paul Celan (1999)
  • Men in the Off Hours (2001)
  • Electra (translation) (2001)
  • The Beauty of the Husband (2001)
  • If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (2002)
  • Wonderwater (Alice Offshore) (volume two, Answer Scars, a collaboration with Roni Horn) (2004)
  • Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera (2005)
  • Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides (translation) (2006)
  • An Oresteia (Translation of Agamemnon, Elektra, Orestes.) (2009)
  • NOX (2010) New Directions, incorporating Catullus 101 of Catullus
  • Antigonick (2012)
  • Red Doc> (2013)
  • Iphigenia among the Taurians (translation) (2014)
Hell you know is outside time.
Still the absence of time divides itself perpetually
into the one same moment
(repeat)–
moment of her realizing no Abelard, moment
which exports his being outward
from her idea of it
into
nothing–one
same smooth cold lurch of the rod
of her idea
into a groove of nothing
—  Anne Carson, “H&A Screenplay”
theawl.com
Notes on 21st-Century Mystic Carly Rae Jepsen
"Her music is often read as unintentionally blank when it seems to me to be obviously deliberately so"

this essay is…so good. perfectly timed for me too, because i just read Decreation (i collect used Anne Carson books, one of my greatest joys and shames). i especially love this part where Jia Tolentino grants CRJ agency over her blankness. this is always a question for in pop culture, where  corporate interest seems to reign: is this an on-purpose, artistic move, a cynical bargain, or a stupid mistake? i definitely take JT’s side on this one, E*MO*TION is genius. i’m listenting to it rn.

The nameless, sparkling tension in her music comes from two parallel but opposite forces: Her substance regresses back to an impossible purity of emotional intention, while her form progresses towards an emotional climax that, necessarily imaginary, can never come. Carly Rae wants love; she wants nothing more than to want it—as in, she literally will not move past that point.

And so Carly Rae becomes somewhat of an unlikely mystic. In Decreation, the poet Anne Carson wrote about art without a personal center—a hole in the middle, left open for God. Carly Rae has resuscitated this idea, shot it through with molten sugar and planted it in genre. She’s displaced herself from the center of the pop album, a self-centered form, designating love—or E  • MO • TION, the album’s title—as her god.