Short Talk On Housing

I have entered a new year of bookish life together with an old friend of mine, Anne Carson, or her texts, to be more precise. Close reading, slowly finding my way through her Short Talks.

Here is how today started:

Short Talk On Housing

Here is one thing you can do if you have no house. Wear several hats – maybe three, four. In the event of rain or snow, remove the one(s) that get(s) wet. Secondly, to be a householder is a matter of rituals. Rituals function chiefly to differentiate horizontal from vertical. To begin the day in your house is to ‘get up’. At night you will ‘lie down’. (…)

I find there is an affinity here, in these “Short Talks”, to the art of Yoko Ono … (just a dim feeling  – I have to check it out). 

yoko-1

Yoko Ono, Ceiling Painting, Yes Painting, (1966)

But right now I’m concentrating on following Carson word by word, line by line, to get a grip on what she is doing, how she manages to produce these immensely strange and beautiful texts.

(…) These patterns of up and down can be imitated, outside the house, in vertical and horizontal designs upon the clothing. Hats do not need to be so decorated for they will ‘pile up’ on your head, in and of themselves, qua hats, if you have understood my original instruction.

Excerpt from “Short Talk On Housing”, Short Talks, Anne Carson, Brick Books (1992)


Anne Carson (1950), born in Toronto. In the 1970s Carson studied classics, a Ph.D. dissertation on Sappho later became Eros the Bittersweet. Her work is insistent and groundbreaking, a blend of genres and styles. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rio says:

    It made me think of “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” by Dr. Suess.

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