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!
}[verb][adjective] [noun] [preposition]
} [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