January 27th, 2011 / 8:31 pm
Excerpts & Random

Speaking of Anne Carson,

which we were doing at some point in the last 10 or so posts, there’s a prose poem of hers from Plainwater that makes me want to die.

On Waterproofing

Franz Kafka was Jewish. He had a sister, Ottla, Jewish. Ottla married a jurist, Josef David, not Jewish. When the Nuremburg Laws were introduced to Bohemia-Moravia in 1942, quiet Ottla suggested to Josef David that they divorce. He at first refused. She spoke about sleep shapes and property and their two daughters and a rational approach. She did not mention, because she did not yet know the word, Auschwitz, where she would die in October 1943. After putting the apartment in order she packed a rucksack and was given a good shoeshine by Josef David. He applied a coat of grease. Now they are waterproof, he said.

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  1. Luke Johnson

      Wonderful poem. Thanks for posting.

  2. Donblue_usher


  3. James Yeh

      Yes, this is beautiful. Thanks.

  4. Jeff

      This is from Short Talks originally, which is a great great collection–all prose poems. I think it was actually her first book

  5. Anonymous

      Thanks, Jeff. I got it out of Best American Prose Poems and couldn’t find my copy of Plainwater…

  6. Matt Salesses

      Yes. So good. This whole book is amazing. But I like the prose half more.

  7. deadgod

      Do poets still watch the flame burn down? But to praise it is a gratuitous act, like throwing coins into a pyre.

      On the other hand, the economy of the unlost always involves gratuity. Whether you call it a waste of words or an act of grace depends on you.

      –Carson, Economy of the Unlost

  8. JJ’s remix – 29 jan 2011 « JJ Pollet

      […] ijzingwekkend prozagedicht van Anne Carson over de zus van Kafka  ~~  “Je kunt er natuurlijk ook geen ruk om geven. Je kunt dan […]

  9. mjm

      Why is this considered a poem?

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