Module 4:

[Barbarellaa!: World of Poetry (2008)]

"Go tell the Spartans, passer-by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie
- Simonides of Ceos

Back to the Classics

Anne Carson / Michael Harlow

[Anne Carson: The Beauty of the Husband (2002)]

Anne Carson

Anthology Readings [pp. 185-222]:
  • ‘The Fall of Rome: A Traveller’s Guide.’ In Glass, Irony and God. New York: New Directions, 1995. pp. 73-105.
  • ‘Ordinary Time: Virginia Woolf and Thucydides on War.’ In Men in the Off Hours. New York: Vintage, 2000. pp. 3-8.

What use are the Classics to a Modern / Postmodern poet? In Anne Carson's case, at any rate, they seem to have imparted a certain hardness and precision: an unsentimental facing up to things as they are - Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, rather than the more old-fashioned civility and patriotism of Herodotus and his Persian Wars.

The essay included here, on Thucydides and Virginia Woolf, gives some idea of the territory Carson inhabits. Just as in her critical book Economy of the Unlost, which compares twentieth century Holocaust poet Paul Celan with the ancient Greek bard Simonides of Ceos, Woolf and Thucydides seem to be almost equally present in her imagination: equally present and perhaps equally problematic. ...

[Michael Harlow: Cassandra's Daughter (2005)]

Michael Harlow

Anthology Readings [pp. 223-36]:
  • ‘Today is the Piano’s Birthday.’ In Today is the Piano’s Birthday. Auckland: Auckland University Press & Oxford University Press, 1981. p. 9.
  • ‘No Problem, But Not Easy’ & ‘Talking at the Boundary.’ In Giotto’s Elephant. Dunedin: John McIndoe, 1991. pp. 28-29 & 39-40.
  • ‘Cassandra’s Daughter’ & ‘And, yes.’ In Cassandra’s Daughter. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2005. pp. 2 & 12.
  • ‘The Light is Dark Enough.’ In The Tram Conductor's Blue Cap. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2009. p. 31.
  • ‘Interview with Jack Ross.' (1998) [commissioned for Complete with Instructions (2001) (unpublished)].

Psychoanalysis is one of the greatest influences on twentieth century thought and culture generally. Harlow clearly adheres to the mythological school of Carl Gustav Jung rather than the "biological" insights of Sigmund Freud. At times his work can sound like surrealist fables set in some Neverland of the childish imagination. At its best, however, it engages squarely with the mysteries of the human mind.

It's perhaps important to mention here that Harlow trained as a Jungian Psychoanalyst, and has made that his profession for many years. ...


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