Anne Carson’s take on a story first told 3,000 years ago is astonishing, writes Sarah CrownRed Doc>, the latest verse-novel from Anne Carson’s MacArthur genius grant-endorsed pen, trails so many tempting threads that it is a job to decide which to follow first. Where to start: with her antic reworking of Greek mythology? Her exuberant intertextuality? Her formal experimentalism, which leaves swaths of contemporary poetry looking irremediably blah by comparison? That weird angle bracket in the title?Start at the very beginning, the song advises – but the quest for a true beginning in Red Doc> is doomed. The book is a sequel, of sorts, to the Canadian poet’s 1998 Autobiography of Red – in turn an adaptation of an all-but-forgotten fragment of a work by one Stesichorus, an all-but-forgotten Greek poet. There’s more: this work, “Geryoneis”, was itself a retelling of the 10th labour of Herakles, in which he must slay the red, winged monster Geryon in order to steal his cattle. Having drilled down through myth and history, though, Carson’s version of the version whisks us back to the present again. Her Geryon is a contemporary teenage boy – arty, moody, gay – and though his wings survive the …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books