Portrait anne carson

Anne Carson. Courtesy Compass Rose Books.

Anne Carson
Born June 21, 1950 (1950-06-21) (age 67)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Poet
Nationality Canada Canadian
Genres poetry, essay, opera libretto, new genres
Notable work(s) Autobiography of Red

Anne Carson (born June 21, 1950) is a Canadian poet, essayist, and translator. She won Canada's Griffin Poetry Prize in 2001.


Carson was born in Toronto, Ontario.[1] The fascination with classical literature which dominates her work began to take root in high school. There, a Latin instructor introduced her to the world and language of Ancient Greece and tutored the future poet during lunch hour.[2]

Enrolling at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto, she left twice - at the end of her first and second years. Carson, disconcerted by curricular constraints (particularly by a required course on Milton), retired to the world of graphic arts for a short time.[3] She did eventually return to the University of Toronto where she earned a B.A. in 1974, a M.A. in 1975, and aPh.D. in 1981.[4]

Carson lived in Montreal for several years and taught at McGill University,[5] at the University of Michigan,[6] and at Princeton University from 1980-1987.[1] She was a 1998 Guggenheim Fellow.[7] and in 2000 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also won a Lannan Literary Award.[8]

She is reticent about her private life; the biography published in current editions of her books simply states, "Anne Carson lives in Canada."


A professor of the classics, with background in classical languages, comparative literature, anthropology, history, and commercial art, Carson blends ideas and themes from many fields in her writing. She frequently references, modernizes, and translates Greek mythology. She has published fifteen books as of 2010, all of which blend the forms of poetry, essay, prose, criticism, translation, dramatic dialogue, fiction, and non-fiction.

Laurie Smith: "The language is flat, nervous, stilted - 'Rather than to eat it', for example, not the more natural 'Rather than eat it' - without any awareness of the potentialities of language (musicality, imagery, word play) to which poets respond. Like a dull academic, Carson depends on reference to lift her work - from Keats to War and Peace via temples and God. She may be lamenting the difficulty of rendering romantic experience into modern poetry, or of experiencing romantic love, but from her flat scurrying lines one would never know it. The Beauty of the Husband shows the fancy at full stretch seeking to disguise its lack of imagination."[9]


Carson was an Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, for Fall 2007.

The Classic Stage Company, a New York City-based theatre company, produced 3 of Carson's translations: Aeschylus' Agamemnon; Sophocles' Electra; and Euripides' Orestes (as An Oresteia), in repertory, in the 2008/2009 season.

She was Poet-in-Residence at New York University.[10] Carson is a judge for the 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Awards Edit



  • Short Talks. London, ON: Brick Books, 1992.
  • Glass, Irony, and God. New York: New Directions, 1995.
  • Autobiography of Red: A novel in verse. New York: Knopf, 1998.
  • Men in the Off Hours. New York: Knopf, 2000.
  • The Beauty of the Husband: A fictional essay in 29 tangos. New York: Knopf, 2001; London: Cape, 2001.
  • Red doc>. New York: Knopf, 2013.
  • The Albertine workout. New York: New Directions, 2014.


Collected editionsEdit

  • Plainwater: Essays and poetry. New York: Knopf, 1995.
  • Decreation: Poetry, essays, opera. New York: Knopf, 2005.


  • Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul Celan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Sophocles, Electra. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Sappho, If Not, Winter: Fragments. New York: Knopf, 2002.
  • Euripides, Grief Lessons: Four plays. New York: New York Review, 2006.
  • An Oresteia (Translations of Agamemnon. Elektra, Orestes. London: Faber, 2009.
  • NOX (incorporating Carmen 101 of Catullus). New York: New Directions, 2010.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[11]

Poet Anne Carson reads at the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize readings event03:55

Poet Anne Carson reads at the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize readings event

Audio / videoEdit

  • Anne Carson with Brighde Mullins: Reading, 21 March 2001 (evideo). Santa Fe, NM: Lannan Foundation, 2011.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Anne Carson," Academy of American Poets,, Web, Jan. 2, 2012.
  2. "Anne Carson b. 1950," Poetry Foundation, Web, Aug. 18, 2012.
  3. "Anne Carson, online biography". 
  4. "University of Toronto Magazine". 
  5. "McGill News - Winter '97". Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  6. "Penn Humanities Forum | Anne Carson". 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  7. "Anne Carson - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation". Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  8. "Lannan Foundation - Anne Carson". 2001-03-21. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  9. Laurie Smith, "Subduing the Reader," Magma 23 (Summer 2002). Web, Apr. 1, 2017.
  10. "NYU > CWP > Anne Carson, Charles Simic Join Faculty". Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Search results = au:Anne Carson, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Sep. 7, 2015.

External linksEdit

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