A Fragrance of Understanding

Happy Tuesday! 

We thought we’d leave you with an interview with Anne Carson to celebrate the return of fall.

How do you gauge when your writing succeeds? 

INTERVIEWER

When you look back on ”The Glass Essay” do you consider it a personal poem? Do you see it as a failure?

CARSON

I see it as a messing around on upper levels with things that I wanted to make sense of at a deeper level. I do think I have an ability to record sensual and emotional facts and factoids, to construct a convincing surface of what life feels like, both physical life and emotional life. But when I wrote things like “The Glass Essay” I also wanted to do something that I call understanding what life feels like, and I don’t believe I did. I also don’t know what it would be to do that, but if I read Virginia Woolf or George Eliot describing emotional facts of people, it seems there’s a fragrance of understanding you come away with—this smell in your head of having gone through something that you understood with people in the story. When I think about my writing, I don’t feel that.

Read the rest here on the Paris Review websiteImage.