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Men in the Off Hours (2000)

de Anne Carson

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391654,464 (3.85)1
Following her widely acclaimed Autobiography of Red ('a spellbinding achievement' - Susan Sontag): a new collection of poetry and prose that displays Anne Carson's intoxicating mixture of opposites - the classic and the modern, cinema and print, narrative and verse. In Men in the Off Hours, Carson re-invents figures as diverse as Oedipus, Emily Dickinson and Audubon. She views the writings of Sappho, St Augustine and Catullus through a modern lens. She sets up startling juxtapositions (Lazarus among video paraphernalia; Virginia Woolf and Thucydides discussing war). And, in a final prose poem, she meditates on the recent death of her mother. With its quiet, acute spirituality, its fearless wit and sensuality, and its joyful understanding that 'the fact of the matter for humans is imperfection', Men in the Off Hours is profound, provocative and unforgettable.… (més)
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I read _Men in the Off Hours_ at the recommendation of an internet friend. I know who Anne Carson is and have read some of her translations before, but never read her work directly in this way. It was surprising how I vacillated between being really into one poem, and having no understanding of the next. In some cases this is because—it seems to me—she’s referencing people or stories that I don’t know, or metaphors through which I find no purchase. (I did not understand “Shadowboxer.” “TV Men” did not make sense.) Others, in particular the essays and more prose-like poems, I find more resonant because she explains. And when she explains she’s a master. Then again, I appreciate the sentiment that she is “uneasy with any claim to know exactly what a poet means to say.” But I like it when she tries to explain. ( )
  jtth | Jun 7, 2020 |
I love Anne Carson because she writes whatever the hell suits her with a playful and haughty imagination. Men in the Off Hours draws more explicitly on her work with ancient Greek and felt both restrained and didactic at times, which felt a tad heavy handed. Yet there are some wonderful pieces, particularly her pairing of Hopper and Augustine and Thucydides and Woolf.
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Kind of uneven. But she's so damn smart that I'll try anything.
  beckydj | Apr 8, 2014 |
'This is mental'

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( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
I'm not going to lie: I don't understand 98% of this. This does not stop me from saying that it is beautiful. (I understand the essays on classics most, I think, and they are dense and thoughtful and intelligent.) The poetry is bewildering, evocative and free-wheeling. Anne Carson's mind must be an amazing place to live. It made fantastic bedtime reading, because I could read a few lines and lie in the dark and drift off, turning them over in my head. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Following her widely acclaimed Autobiography of Red ('a spellbinding achievement' - Susan Sontag): a new collection of poetry and prose that displays Anne Carson's intoxicating mixture of opposites - the classic and the modern, cinema and print, narrative and verse. In Men in the Off Hours, Carson re-invents figures as diverse as Oedipus, Emily Dickinson and Audubon. She views the writings of Sappho, St Augustine and Catullus through a modern lens. She sets up startling juxtapositions (Lazarus among video paraphernalia; Virginia Woolf and Thucydides discussing war). And, in a final prose poem, she meditates on the recent death of her mother. With its quiet, acute spirituality, its fearless wit and sensuality, and its joyful understanding that 'the fact of the matter for humans is imperfection', Men in the Off Hours is profound, provocative and unforgettable.

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