A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Autobiography of Red (Anne Carson)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”Words bounce. Words, if you let them, will do what they want to do and what they have to do.”

The thing with poetry books is that they always leave up a lot of things for interpretation. You cannot go into them expecting them to make a distinct point. Poetry meanders, comes back to its originals just to leave them again and to throw another question at your feet. It challenges and forces you to deal with everything that’s mentioned and hinted at. No, to read poetry is definitely no easy feat, yet I still love to do it every once in a while. It keeps me on my toes and causes me to think outside of the box and that’s always a good thing in my book.

”The red world And corresponding red breezes
Went on Geryon did not”

This said I really enjoyed reading “Autobiography of Red”. Carson has a unique way to tell her story and to follow Geryon’s character was extremely intriguing. It takes a while to get into the story but once you found the rhythm and flow of the tale you can’t help but wonder where it will take you. I found Carson’s choice to take Greek mythology and to put it into our modern world pretty impressive and bold. It’s a noteworthy choice and gave the entire story an edge I would have never been able to anticipate, yet the themes that are tackled could be found in ancient mythology as well.

”The world poured back and forth between their eyes once or twice.”

“Autobiography of Red” follows Geryon and his life on earth. In Greek mythology Geryon was a red winged monster that was slain by Herakles, in this poetry novel he’s a person who is trying to figure out his life and sexuality. There are many different topics that are tackled in this short book, sexual abuse, bullying, sexual identity and disfigurement just to mention some of them. If you read between the lines there are plenty of things to discuss, for instance the relationship between Geryon and Herakles as well as their relationship with Ancash a mutual friend.

„The effort it took to pull himself
away from Herakles‘ eyes
could have been measured on the scale devised by Richter.”

As I already said poetry leaves a lot of room for subjective interpretation but what I could gather from the story and how I interpret it is that Geryon is a very lonely person. His mother is affectionate but doesn’t know how to support her son. She’s not only unaware of the bullying at school but also doesn’t notice the ongoing sexual abuse by Geryon’s own brother. Geryon’s world is pretty dark and the atmosphere of the book makes sure to convey this feeling every step of the way. When Geryon meets Herakles and falls in love with him he begins to question his sexuality and this starts his process of finding himself. The relationship between Geryon and Herakles feels kind of toxic because even though their feelings seem to be mutual at first Herakles leaves him with a broken heart and this ultimately causes Geryon to fall into a depression.

„He saw the doorway
the house the night the world and
on the other side of the world somewhere Herakles laughing drinking getting into a car and Geryon’s
whole body formed one arch of a cry – upcast to that custom, the human custom of wrong love.

Years later they meet in Peru and Geryon’s conflicting feelings begin to overwhelm him once again. Geryon is aware of all the prying eyes and tries to keep his distance, but Herakles won’t let him be, taking the role of a predator that wants to seduce him. Ultimately Geryon is too weak to push him away. This was a really interesting shift in their dynamic because in the original myth Herakles is the hero that kills Geryon. Carson reverses their roles and makes “the monster” the victim which forces her readers to think outside of the box. I personally think it’s also a nod to the original Greek myth, because in fact Geryon was Herakles’s victim in the tale as well. Geryon was only killed by Herakles because it was his tenth task to steal Geryon’s herd of red bulls and after Herakles slayed Orthos and Eurytion Geryon challenged him to a duel which ended with his death.

„Aren’t you cold?“ said Geryon to Ancash who had no coat on. No, said Ancash.
Then he looked sideways at Geryon.
Well actually yes. He smiled. Geryon would have liked to wrap his coat around
this feather man. They walked on.”

As for the role of Ancash, their mutual friend in Peru? I’m still not all too sure what to make of his character, but I think Carson created him to point out Herakles’ abuse. Ancash doesn’t approve of Herakles’ advances and Geryon’s feelings for him, but I also got the feeling that he was jealous?! His character certainly acted as some sort of catalyst and pushed the story along. Honestly, if any of you read “Autobiography of Red” I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ancash. I still don’t know how to place him. XD

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All told, to read “Autobiography of Red” was a very weird, yet at the same time intriguing experience. I still don’t know what to make of the ending but I guess Carson left it that way on purpose. It’s the reader’s choice how to interpret it and I think that’s good the way it is. 😉

Allgemein, Poetry

Words

They can be cruel,
They can be mean,
They can be awful,
But they can’t be seen.

Sometimes they are like
A slap to your face,
Leaving an ache
Instead of their place.

Other times they might
Be tender,
Friendly, coaxing,
Trying to tempt you
To surrender.

They can be gentle
And colourful
They can make you feel
Like a fool.

Sometimes it feels
Like they rule.
Your world and everything
In between.
Some days they can
Make you feel seen.

During the night
They can spin an reel
Forcing you to kneel
And causing you to feel.

Sometimes they seal a deal
Or help you to heal.
But they can crush
You as well,
Like a spell,
A reason to dwell.
On thoughts or feelings,
All of your dealings.

They can be powerful,
They can be weak,
They can be angry,
They can be bleak.

Sometimes they fill you
With sadness and pain.
Other times they might
Have some merit or gain.

They can be lovely
And seducing.
Yes, even hope inducing.

They can be harsh,
They can be kind,
It can feel like
They have their own mind.

They can be a menace
Or a blessing.
They always hold the potential
To be distressing.

They can be so many things,
Give you wings,
Pull on your strings.
Confine you and free you
At the same time.
Yes, they can even rhyme.

Words,
They’ll get to you
All of the time.

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

Day Of Reckoning

Never thought it would
Come this far,
But here I am,
Spotting a new scar.

And this one,
Is plain to see,
Spreading through my heart,
Like branches of a tree.

Black ink,
Underneath the surface,
Spilling like oil,
Starting to boil.
So dark and twisted,
It causes others to recoil.

The anger,
Is eating me alive,
All this frustration
Causing it to thrive.

The injustice,
Is killing me,
Filling me,
No longer thrilling me.
It’s not fulfilling,
Making me unwilling,
To do
What I loved
To do.
My only choice,
To start anew.

I’ve been stuck
For far too long,
Trying to survive,
Struggling to stay strong.
Where did I go wrong?

Took me way to long,
To see,
It wasn’t me.

It’s not my fault
If their world crumbles,
If their house of cards tumbles.
I did the best I could,
But no one understood.

Was forced to cut my losses,
To keep my head low,
To dodge their tosses.
To no longer grow.

I’m so done with
All this shit.
Found my voice,
My wit,
My grit.
You better sit,
Because,
Damn,
I quit!

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

North Star

Like a wave
Pulled towards the shore.
Like the earth,
Revolving around its core.
Like an echo resounding,
In a cave.
Like a starving person,
I crave.

My eyes linger
On your face.
My body aches
To close this space.
My fingers itch
For just one touch.
Am I asking for too much?

Don’t want to hide
My feelings for you.
They are pure.
They are true.

It takes every inch of
Self-control I possess,
To keep some distance
To avoid this mess.
To fight my feelings,
Not to confess.
I retreat,
I regress.

But my voice is soft,
When I speak with you.
My eyes fill with warmth,
When I look at you,
I know for sure,
Because yours do too.
My skin tingles after
Every touch.
Our little gestures,
They are already too much.

It’s there for everyone
To see.
I am you,
And you are me.

Like a wave
Pulled towards the shore.
Like the earth,
Revolving around its core.
Like an echo resounding,
In a cave.
Like a starving person,
I crave.

I can’t escape
How beautiful you are.
My gaze will always,
Search for you,
My brilliant North Star.

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

The Raging Man

His eyes glistening red,
his behaviour more than bad.
Yelling all around the place,
long ago lost his grace.

Fighting everyone that’s near,
forcing them to hear and fear.
His fist wild in the air,
whipping with his long hair.

His preferred weapon is his voice,
making more and more noise.
He feels misunderstood and mad,
should better go and sleep in his bed.

Spreading hate,
anger fills the room,
this man is his own doom.

Ignorance is his life,
he’s using it like a knife.
Too blind to see,
he could be free.

Loved and not alone,
with people and a home.

The big mistake he’s making,
it’s his own life he’s taking.
Not recognizing he himself isn’t holy,
expecting others to be lowly.

The devil’s in his eyes,
he’s losing his disguise.

Another soul lost and gone,
this war will go on,
until one side has won.

© Virginia Stone

Poetry

Broken Pieces

There’s nothing
left of me,
all those pieces,
loose and free.
His words,
everything I didn’t want to hear,
commitment to my deepest fear.
I’m here,
no not there,
broken pieces everywhere.

His name,
That echoes
through my mind.
Going insane,
numb and blind.
Fragments of the past
in my ear,
don’t get near.
Future falls,
if you touch it,
my dear.

I think.
I thought.
That.
This could be.
You and me.

Fog in my eyes,
tears paying the price,
causing ice,
playing nice,
roll the dice!

Thunderstorm within my soul,
got no control.

LET IT ROLL!
Let it roll!
let it roll.

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

The Little Things

It’s the little things,
I miss,
For instance
The touch of
A gentle kiss.

It’s the little things
I crave,
Like the sound
Of the ocean,
The sigh of
A wave.

It’s the little things,
I long for,
Like a hug
From a friend,
That helps me to soar.

It’s the little things
I want,
That started,
To taunt.
To daunt.

Like the touch
Of a hand,
Holding mine.
Entwining fingers,
A lifeline.

Like a peck
On the cheek,
A tight embrace.
Messing up hair,
Stroking a face.

Like the brush
Of soft lips,
Against fingertips.
Resting my head
On someone’s shoulder.
Watching a smile
Unfold and smoulder.

It’s the little things
I miss so dearly.
It’s the little things
That hurt so severely.
I just want them back,
Yours sincerely.

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

Not All Prayers Are Answered

You plead,
You bleed,
You scream,
You yell,
You tell.

Your story,
Your worry,
Your fears,
Your tears,
For years.

You hope,
You dream,
You wish,
You feel,
You reel!

You command,
You demand,
You rage,
You age.
You weep,
You sleep.

You wail,
You’re frail.
You cry,
Ask why?

Their reply:
Not all prayers are answered.
That’s why,
Some die.

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

Land Of Hope

Reach out your hand
I’ll follow thee,
To the land
Of hope
Where we’ll be free.

It might
Be frail
Like the wings
Of a butterfly.
It might
Sting and hurt
Like the pain
Of a long goodbye.

There’s no way
To guarantee
If we’ll
Take flight
If we’ll be free.

No way to say
If we’ll
Live or die.
No way
To know
If we’ll be a lie.

All we can do
Is try.

Just give me
A chance
Only one more glance.
Please,
Please let us dance.

Reach out your hand
I’ll follow thee,
To the land
Of hope
Where we’ll be free.

© Virginia Stone

Allgemein, Poetry

Troubled Evolution

And then the world was set on fire,
Trees burning in the heat,
The situation got real dire,
Turning into an inevitable defeat.

The noise so silent
Pebbles dropping in the lake,
Slow vibrations turning violent,
Their force an exhilarating ache.

The wind was roaring,
Drowning out all sound,
My heart was soaring,
Up, up and away from the ground.

The earth was shaking,
Push turning into pull,
The current awakening,
Its stream not empty but full.

The air charged with electricity,
It’s music reaching a crescendo,
The sky filled with toxicity,
Every atom laced with innuendo.

The storm eventually breaking loose,
Its might relentless in its pursue.
No hope to negotiate a truce,
So greedy after its curfew.

Consuming everything as it goes,
And once at full speed,
It never slows.
It never slows.

© Virginia Stone