Monday, August 5, 2013

Anne Carson, Nox, New Directions, New York, 2010

This substantial book comes in its own box and is a facsimile of a book Carson created after the death of her older brother in Cophehagen in 2000. Estranged from the family and having had minimal contact with Carson over the years the publication functions as both an elegy and memorial for her sibling. In its bulk and weight this book might also serve as a kind of headstone to the mystery of a brother she never really knew. 

A classics professor by profession Carson uses the left hand pages to list the dictionary definition of each word of Catullus' poem No. 101, which itself is an elegy he delivered for his own brother who died overseas. On the pages on the right side Carson has assembed her own notes, poems, essays, postcards & drawings coupled with photographs and scraps of letters from her brother. The title 'nox' is Latin for night and this book is definitely a search for some light into the life of her brother, and it would appear that through the act of bringing together all these pieces she had hoped that it would magically illuminate something about her brother's life, and perhaps also something of his own search for mearning in the meandering path that was his life. This book is also about the nature of grief and grieving, and how each of us comes to terms with the fact that someone is no longer with us.

It's also curious that Carlson chose the accordion format for this book, since the pages are essentially couplets that are most immediately in dialogue with each other, and no use is made of the extended format that is so intrinsic to the accordion format. 

Individual pages 8.25" x 5.25" and fully extended the 193 pages must give it the distinction of being one of the longest accordions on record at 84' 5.25." Here's a link to a particularly interesting examination of the book by Meghan O'Rouke in the New Yorker, July 12, 2010: The poet Anne Carson’s “Nox,” review : The New Yorker

Richard Avedon Portraits, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2002

Book with slip cover and Avedon self-portrait (1980)

A wonderful catalogue for a show of Avedon's work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from September 26, 2002 to January 5, 2003. One side includes a long essay by Maria Morris Hambourg (curator of the Met's Department of Photographs) and Mia Fineman. Also included is an insightful essay by Avedon himself. The other side of the accordion is taken up with 30 of the portraits that were in the show. This publication really utilizes the panoramic qualities inherent in the accordion format to create an expansive mini-exhibition of Avedon's powerful and always slightly disturbing portraits.

32 individual pages 10.5" x 8.5," and fully extended 24' 1"