‘The Glass Essay’ by Anne Carson

I have a soft grey notebook, filled with things I can’t say out loud, things I daren’t write anywhere else. When I think about attempting to write something on the scale of Carson’s Glass Essay, I laugh at my impudence. Some things need to live (or die) a little more before they’re ready.

From Glass, Irony and God, New Directions, 1995. It is also available online here.

‘The Glass Essay’ by Anne Carson

I have an ambivalent relationship with Anne Carson’s writing, finding much of it uneven (there is quite a lot of it), but the best, which is this hybrid work, is assured and disturbing. Carson uses free verse to explore the inner weather of a woman recovering from the ending of a serious relationship. She visits her mother accompanied by the books and spirit of her favourite author, Emily Brontë. Reflections on Brontë are interwoven with elucidation of the narrator’s mental state and evocations of the “moor in the north”. The melancholy of the monologue is relieved by Carson’s trademark wit.

From Glass, Irony, and God, New Directions, 1995. It is also online here