29+ quotes from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry by Anne Carson

Quotes from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry

Anne Carson ·  260 pages

Rating: (1.7K votes)


“It is easier to tell a story of how people wound one another than of what binds them together.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“The beloved's innocence
brutalizes the lover.
As the singing of a mad person
behind you on the train
enrages you,
its beautiful
animal-like teeth
shining amid black planes
of paint.
As Helen
enrages history.

Senza uscita.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“We are only midway through the central verse of our youth when we see ourselves begin to blacken. ... We had been seduced into thinking that we were immortal and suddenly the affair is over.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“M: Is he smart
I: She yes very smart sees right through me
M: In my day we valued blindness rather more”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“You can get used to eating breakfast with a man in a fedora. You can get used to anything, my mother was in the habit of saying.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Three old women were bending in the fields. What use is it to question us? they said. Well it shortly became clear that they knew everything there is to know about the snowy fields and the blue green shoots and the plant called "audacity", which poets mistake for violets. I began to copy out everything that was said. ... I will do anything to escape boredom. It is the task of a lifetime. You can never know enough, never work enough, never use the infinitives and participles oddly enough, never impede the movement harshly enough, never leave the mind quickly enough.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“fr. 2
All We as Leaves
He (following Homer) compares man's life with the leaves.
All we as leaves in the shock of it:
spring-
one dull gold bounce and you're there.
You see the sun? - I built that.
As a lad. The Fates lashing their tails in a corner.
But (let me think) wasn't it a hotel in Chicago where I had the first of those - my body walking out of the room
bent on some deadly errand
and me up on the ceiling just sort of fading out-
brainsex paintings I used to call them?
In the days when I (so to speak) painted.
Remember
that oddly wonderful chocolate we got in East
(as it was then) Berlin?”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Town of the Dragon Vein

If you wake up too early listen for it.
A sort of inverted whistling the sound of sound.
Being withdrawn after all where?
Does all the sound in the world.
Come from day after day?
From mountains but.
They have to give it back.
At night just.
As your nightly dreams.
Are taps.
Open reversely.
In.
To.
Time.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“My brother once showed me a piece of quartz that contained, he said, some trapped water older than all the seas in our world. He held it up to my ear. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘life and no escape.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“My mother forbad us to walk backwards. That is how the dead walk, she would say. Where did she get this idea? Perhaps from a bad translation. The dead, after all, do not walk backwards but they do walk behind us. They have no lungs and cannot call out but would love for us to turn around. They are victims of love, many of them.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“It is the task of a lifetime. You can never know enough, never work enough, never use the infinitives and participles oddly enough, never impede the movement harshly enough, never leave the mind quickly enough.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“M: ... but everytime I start in everytime I everytime you see I would have to tell the whole story all over again or else lie so I lie I just lie who are they who are the storytellers who can put an end to stories”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“The fact that Anna is somewhere
having coffee or a dream
is an assault on me.
I hate these moments of poverty.
What does man eat? ask the phenomenologists.
Like the dogs, names,
down there,
starving.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Pilgrims were people glad to take off their clothing, which was on fire.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“People really understand very little of one another. Sometimes when I speak to him, my Cid looks very hard and straight into my face as if in search of something (a city on a map?) like someone who has tumbled off a star. But he's not the one who feels alien—ever, I think. He lives in a small country of hope, which is his heart. Like Sokrates he fails to understand why travel should be such a challenge to the muscles of the heart, for other people. Around every bend of the road is a city of gold, isn't it?
I am the kind of person who thinks no, probably not. And we walk, side by side, in different countries.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Language is what eases the pain of living with other people, language is what makes the wounds come open again.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Gorge after gorge, turning, turning. Caverns of sunset, falling, falling away—just a single vast gold air breathed out by beings—they must have been marvelous beings, those gold-breathers. Down. Purple-and-green islands. Cleft and groined and gigantically pocked like something left behind after all the oceans vanished one huge night: the mountains. Their hills fold and fold again, fold away, down. Folded into the dens and rocks of the hills are ghost towns. Broken streets end in them, like a sound, nowhere. Shadow is inside. We walk (oh quietly) even so—breaking lines of force, someone’s. Houses stand in their stones. Each house an empty socket. Some streaked with red inside. Words once went on in there—no. I don’t believe that. Words never went on in there.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Humans in love are terrible. You see them come hungering at one another like prehistoric wolves, you see something struggling for life in between them like a root or a soul and it flares for a moment, then they smash it. The difference between them smashes the bones out. So delicate the bones.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Now I think it is true to say of the road, and also of God, that it does not move. At the same time, it is everywhere. It has a language, but not one I know. It has a story, but I am in it. So are you. And to realize this is a moment of some sadness. When we are denied a story, a light goes off. I am asking you to study the dark.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“The moon makes a traveler hunger for something bitter in the world, what is it? I will vanish; others will come here, what is that? An old question.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“On the Rules of Perspective
A bad trick. Mistake. Dishonesty. These are the views of Braque. Why? Braque rejected perspective. Why? Someone who spends his life drawing profiles will end up believing that man has one eye, Braque felt. Braque wanted to take full possession of objects. He said as much in published interviews. Watching the small shiny planes of the landscape recede out of his grasp filled Braque with loss so he smashed them. Nature morte, said Braque.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“We live by waters breaking out of the heart.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“It stung God. They say his spinal cord ran straight out of the sun.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Order streamed from Noah in blue triangles and as the pure fury of his classifications rose around him, engulfing his life, they came to be called waves by others, who drowned, a world of them.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Your separateness could kill you unless I take it from you as a sickness.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“What if you get stranded in the town where pears and winter are variants for one another? Can you eat winter? No. Can you live six months inside a frozen pear? No. But there is a place, I know the place, where you will stand and see pear and winter side by side as walls stand by in silence. Can you punctuate yourself as silence? You will see the edges cut away from you, back into a world, of another kind-- back into real emptiness, some would say. Well, we are objects in a wind that stopped, is my view.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“There are regular towns and irregular towns, there are wounded towns and sober towns and fiercely remembered towns, there are useless, but passionate towns that battle on, there are towns where the snow slides from the roofs of the houses with such force that victims are killed, but there are not empty towns (just empty scholars) and there is no regret. Now move along.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Kinds of water drown us. Kinds of water do not.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


“Pilgrims were people in scientific exile.”
― Anne Carson, quote from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry


About the author

Anne Carson
Born place: in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Born date June 21, 1950
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