Thinking with Anne Carson
The Lemon Hound blog, always a reliable source of intelligence, has posted a speculative and associative close-reading of Anne Carson's poem "Tag," which recently appeared in the New Yorker. Instead of predictably bemoaning the quality of poetry usually published there, or praising the magazine for being ever so slightly more adventurous, Lemon Hound smartly looks at the poem itself and thinks about it in terms of Carson's work and that of her contemporaries. In the end, it suggests that though the poem might not be Carson's best work, it still serves as a ground for pondering, and a piece of literature "generative" of thinking. In a way, the whole blog post can be read as an argument for a kind of speculative criticism, which takes up the "generative" aspect of a text, and thinks in circles around them:
I guess what I'm saying is that even though this poem doesn't rank as a particularly memorable Carson poem, to me it is nonetheless satisfying. Though not in a passive way for there are half a dozen things I must go off and ponder, a few books to find, several threads that may or may not lead me somewhere interesting...what am I saying? Of course they will lead me somewhere interesting, that is what good poetry does even if it isn't itself the destination. It doesn't close off, it doesn't wrap up all the loose ends and inscribe a narrowly carved interpretation--it opens, it's generative, it makes more.