For her first British publication, the Canadian poet Anne Carson has chosen to collect five sequences combining modern and classical themes, "short talks" and theological allegory. Glass and God
opens with the moving long poem, "The Glass Essay", a series of meditations on the tensions between the public and private life of Emily Brontë, as well as her own sense of loneliness and despair after the ending of a love affair.
Reflecting on the intense, obsessional, even demented, anger of Brontë's private, imaginary life, Carson sees an analogue between that life and the lives, more generally, of women artists caught between the demands of love and work, belief and unbelief. She wonders whether "anger could be a kind of vocation for some women", embodying what they both hate and fear about themselves, acting as a powerful source for both the release of repressed energy and revenge for "that life withheld". Even though "the vocation of anger is not mine", Carson's indication is that anger, despite its unnerving presence, can be a profound emotion for freeing "this soul trapped in glass". Other poems address the costs of such exorcism, of what it means to purge one's spiritual and psychological demons when there is still "the terrible sex price to pay".--David Marriott
"Anne Carson is a daring, learned, unsettling writer. Both in poetry and in prose (and the nimble mixtures of both that are characteristic of her work) she offers and upholds exceptional pleasures and standards. A unique figure in the North American literary landscape and not nearly as well known as she should be" (Susan Sontag)
"Anne Carson's poems are like notes made in their pristine urgency, as fresh and bright as a series of sudden remarks... A real poet whose poems are unfailingly memorable... [whose] powers of invention are apparently infinite" (Guy Davenport)
"Anne Carson is a new and brilliant talent making her English debut with this volume" (Peter Porter)
"She is a rare talent - brilliant and full of wit, passionate and also deeply moving. Her long poem 'The Glass Essay' is oen of the best of our time" (Michael Ondaatje)