Bring on the Nox, or, An [adjective] [adjective] contest!

In his notebooks, James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, wrote of Anne Carson,

She’s taken leave of the mundane world in her work and it’s more than delightful. It’s slightly frightening. One asks oneself have I lost the lid off my head?

Laughlin is no longer with us, but I’m sure he would have approved of the lengths to which New Directions has gone to stay true to Anne Carson’s vision for her newest book, Nox.

A two-hundred-page, accordion-folded book in a box, Nox is–as the photos accompanying this post show–a striking object, nearly as far from the run-of-the-mill book as Carson’s poetry is from undergraduate workshop verse.

We’re reviewing Nox in the Quarterly Conversation. Now, as New Directions was kind enough to send us an extra copy, let’s have a contest!

That copy of Nox can be yours . . . . if you prove yourself the best at writing Anne Carson Mad Libs! That’s right: below are four of Carson’s translations of the fragments of Sappho from her book If Not, Winter–and where time and tide have stolen Sappho’s words, I’ve inserted [parts of speech] for you to fill in.

If you want to enter the contest, leave your enhanced version of one or all of the fragments in the comments to this post before midnight Central Time on June 14th. Some rules:

1. I’m not too picky about rules. Seriously: this contest is inherently ridiculous so the idea here is to have fun. When I’m deciding whose contribution is best, I may decide that best means funniest, or most impressively poetic, or most scatological, or most inventive, or whatever. Fun and creativity will be my guideposts.

2. You needn’t even feel all that constrained by my [parts of speech], either their type or their number. You’re more likely to impress me if you stay relatively close to the forms indicated, but if you find you’re on a roll and need another [adjective][adjective][noun], well, go for it.

3. Feel free to enter more than once, if you decide you can top yourself.

4. Quarterly Conversation editorial staff are not allowed to enter. Anne Carson and Sappho are allowed to enter.

So here goes–have a [adjective] time!

} quit
}[verb][adjective] [noun] [preposition]
}luxurious woman

}[noun] frequently
} [verb] for those
I treat well are the ones most of all
} [pronoun] harm me
} [verb] [noun] crazy

} yes you a child once
}[noun] [verb] come sing these things
}[adjective] [noun] [verb] [preposition] talk to us, give us your

} [pronoun] [verb] beautiful he
} [adverb] stirs up still things
} [preposition] [noun] [verb] [adverb] [preposition] exhaustion the mind
} [adverb] settles down
}[adjective] [noun] [verb] but come O beloveds
} [adverb] for day is near


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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Esposito and Levi Stahl, Colin Dickey. Colin Dickey said: RT @ScottEsposito @NewDirections, do a mad-lib win a copy of Nox by Anne Carson http://bit.ly/ckYryD [...]

    Posted by Tweets that mention The Constant Conversation | Bring on the Nox, or, An [adjective] [adjective] contest! -- Topsy.com | May 28, 2010, 4:59 pm
  2. }stance
    } quit
    }shiftswift hips out
    }luxurious woman

    }ball frequently
    } check for those
    I treat well are the ones most of all
    } they harm me
    } chase feet crazy

    } yes you a child once
    }crow flap come sing these things
    }black wing swing back talk to us, give us your

    } She hiccups beautiful he
    } sickeningly stirs up still things
    } until chunks erupt slowly from exhaustion the mind
    } mockingly settles down
    } bouncing diaphram bounce but come O beloveds
    } giddy for day is near

    Posted by Eduardo X | June 3, 2010, 10:02 pm
  3. 1
    }drips silver tap down
    }luxurious woman

    }story frequently
    }occurs for those
    I treat well are the ones most of all
    }who harm me
    }need things crazy

    }yes you a child once
    }hands pick come sing these things
    }all evening stared at talk to us, give us your

    }you turn beautiful he
    }later stirs up still things
    }from the northwest swayed and leapt from exhaustion the mind
    }on the way down settles down
    }peaceful day, said but come O beloveds
    }as for day is near

    Note: Each mad-lib word in poem 1 is that part of speech, in order, from the first poem in Carson’s first book of poetry, in poem 2 they are from the second poem in her second book, etc. (Some fudging around definition of what is a “poem” and so on.)

    Posted by Damion Searls | June 5, 2010, 3:53 am
  4. [...] The Anne Carson Mad Libs contest has come to a close, and I’m here to announce the winners. First, a quick rehash of the contest itself: for a chance to win Carson’s stunning new book-in-a-box, Nox, I asked people to fill in the generic parts of speech–adjective, noun, etc.–I’d interpolated into some of Carson’s translations of Sappho’s fragments. [...]

    Posted by The Constant Conversation | We have our [adjective] winner! | June 18, 2010, 11:09 am

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