Admiration — Libraries and Antiquarians


Red Hoop and the Bing Wing of Green Library after a Spring Rain, Stanford, 2016

Admiration: I like a big sprawling library with open stacks, and Green Library is one of my favorites. Thousands and thousands of books on shelves to pull out and browse. There is a light on in the stacks; maybe someone is browsing.

Today I’m reading Anne Carson’s long poem/play red doc > . Reading this strangely titled book is like solving a hard puzzle. I bought it 2 or 3 years ago and am about half-way through.  Ms. Carson said in an interview that she worked 7 years, or so on this book. Perhaps, slow reader and slow writer make a good match.


Sweet Hall is visible from Red Hoop Fountain across Meyer Lawn (former site of Meyer Library)

Red Doc > is about Geryon, who is a red-winged monster. In his youth, Geryon herds magical musk-oxen on a Greek Island that is about to be attacked by that terrible despoiler Herakles. But, Geryon survives the attack and changes his name to G. He fast-forwards in time to the present, goes to war in the mid-east, falls in love with a man very like Herakles, and, ultimately,is heart-broken. Sadly, this poem appears headed towards a tragic ending. Maybe that is a reason for my slow progress in reading.

Rescuing a play from antiquity is a job for a McArthur genius or a mad-woman. Not many would labor so many years to create  a new poem from a fragment of a lost work by an obscure Greek named Stesichoros.

I admire persistence and genius and Anne Carson has both. I recommend her poems, and hope you read faster than I do.

Cheers, Carto

The theme is Admiration — check out this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

About carto

Retired software engineer who grew up in Montana, went to Montana State College in Bozeman, and moved to California to work at Stanford Research Institute (SRI). Carto's Logbook is about photography, travel and adventure; Mt. Maurice Times is tall tales mostly biographical; Carto's Library is about books I've read and liked.
This entry was posted in Classics, Poetry, Translation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Admiration — Libraries and Antiquarians

  1. Pingback: Admiration (Flower Parade 1) | What's (in) the picture?

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