nox 18-05-2011

by the poet anne carson. an elegy for her estranged brother. a facsimile of the collaged text she created after her brother's death (handwritten passages, typed passages, cut-up photographs, bits of old letters...), printed on a very long paper concertina and housed in a box. a beautiful thing in and of itself. but a strange and moving reading experience, too. a poetic exploration of his two absences (he cut himself off from the family early on, and carson found out about his death overseas only after the event). all of this interspersed with definitions of successive words in Catullus 101 (multas per gentes at multa peraequroa vectus...) which is an elegy for his dead brother. though as the book progresses you begin to realise that these definitions are not lifted from a latin dictionary, but carson's own, the examples of usage given becoming more and more appropriate to her brother's death and more and more infected with the word nox, night.

this is the kind of book i'm referring to when, faced with the inevitable kindle question, i say (among other things) that the book-as-object, the book-as-artwork is going flower as more and more straightforward texts leave the world of paper behind.

andrew motion describes the 'book' at greater length (and sings it praises) here: