the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: carson on stains

Posted by rigorousm on July 15, 2011

INTERVIEWER – I was wondering about your preference for things that are old and battered, flawed and tattered.

CARSON – In surfaces, perfection is less interesting. For instance, a page with a poem on it is less attractive than a page with a poem on it and some tea stains. Because the tea stains add a bit of history. It’s a historical attitude. After all, texts of ancient Greeks come to us in wreckage and I admire that, the combination of layers of time that you have when looking at a papyrus that was produced in the third century BC and then copied and then wrapped around a mummy for a couple hundred years and then discovered and put in a museum and pieced together by nine different gentlemen and put back in the museum and brought out again and photographed and put in a book. All those layers add up to more and more life. You can approximate that in your own life. Stains on clothing.

Paris Review – The Art of Poetry No. 88, Anne Carson

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