cover image Glass, Irony and God

Glass, Irony and God

Anne Carson. New Directions Publishing Corporation, $14.95 (142pp) ISBN 978-0-8112-1302-8

Fusing confession, narrative and classicism, Carson's poetry witnesses the collision of heart and mind with breathtaking vitality. In five long poems and a final essay (the provocative ``The Gender of Sound''), her often droll tone and limber use of poetic form mediate a deeply philosophical undercurrent. The nine-part narrative poem, ``The Glass Essay,'' delivers a truth-telling mosaic of diverse subject-matter--including the speaker's departed lover, a visit to her mother, The Collected Works of Emily Bronte, sexual despair and loneliness and visions termed ``Nudes.'' Twenty wry, swift takes on ``The Truth About God'' include God's Christ Theory and The God Coup; ``T.V. Men'' wittily casts Sappho and Antonin Artaud as television personas, and explores the medium with ever-shifting refrains such as ``TV is made of light, like shame.'' The 70 brief sections comprising ``The Fall of Rome: A Traveller's Guide'' deliver a round-robin meditation on strangers, dread, holiness, and mastery; ``Book of Isaiah'' retells the prophet's struggles in jarring language that reads at once futuristic and supremely ancient. Like a miner's lamp, Carson's nuanced voice illuminates often-unexplored interior spaces. (Nov.)