Oviedo / Canadian poet and essayist Anne Carson has said that she received the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature with “total surprise” and as an “incredible honor” through a message in which she recalled a trip to Spain in 1983 to extolling the culture of its people
“An incredible honor. A total surprise. Since I crossed Spain on foot in 1983 (from France to Compostela), I have been amazed at the culture of those people who do not smile unless they have a very good reason. their part to suggest that I may have given them a reason to do so! “Carson said in a short message released by the Princess of Asturias Foundation.
Carson has been deserving of this award for her ability to build an innovative poetics from the study of the Greco-Latin world, as recorded in the jury’s minutes.
For the jury, chaired by the academic Santiago Muñoz Machado, from the study of the Greco-Latin world Carson has built an innovative poetics “where the vitality of the great classical thought works in the manner of a map that invites us to elucidate the complexities of the current moment”.
Anne Carson and the classical world
One of the great favorites for the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature, the essayist, translator, poet and teacher came to the world of classical culture from a bilingual edition of Safo’s poems that she found in a bookstore and that forever changed her life.
Enrolled at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, she dropped out of school twice, although she finally obtained her doctorate in 1986 with a thesis on the Greek poet of the archaic period that led her to the Greco-Roman sphere and to a poetry of which she affirms : “If I knew what poetry is, I would have no need to write. It is something I fumble for in the dark.”
Also a specialist in comparative literature, anthropology, history and advertising, Carson is, in the opinion of critics, one of the most exquisite and erudite writers of contemporary literature, and the author of a hypnotic work that fuses styles, references and formats that is committed to the hybrid between the Greco-Latin, the medieval and the contemporary.
In this way he has created an exquisite world, a ‘collage’ between poetry, dissertation, essay and drama, with contributions sometimes even of opera in an open work with “Eros the sweet-sour” (1986, in Spanish in 2015), where meditate on the nature of romantic love and erotic desire using prose fragments that intersect with the verses.
Among her most admired poets are Homer, Thomas Hardy and the British Stevie Smith, whom she describes as “sublime”, and considers Virginia Woolf the most important figure in the history of literature.
Deeply reserved, Carson is reluctant to talk about her private life, which she jealously guards for what she hardly gives biographical information on in her books and poetry; difficult to classify, which becomes incomprehensible to some, and she herself admits in the few interviews that she has granted that she does not have “lyrical flexibility, nor sentimental acuity”.
Her work includes the novel in verse “Autobiography of Red” (1998), a best-seller that has been defined as “poetry that seduces even those who do not read poetry”, and was applauded, among other authors by Alice Munro or Michael Ondaatje.
Since the publishing house Pretextos published “Hombres en sus horas libre” (Men in their spare hours “(2001), the rise of this lonely and harsh poet -as some have described her- has not stopped growing.
This work was followed by the essay “The beauty of the husband” (2002), another of his best-known works together with “Albertine” (2014), where he opens a new path for readers of Marcel Proust to “review” the world of “In Search of Lost Time”.
Twenty-eight nominations from seventeen countries were chosen for the award, endowed with 50,000 euros and the reproduction of a statue designed by Joan Miró, and Carson thus took over from Siri Hustvedt and Fred Vargas, awarded in the last two editions, within a list that, over 40 years, he has also distinguished his compatriots Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen.
The one of the Letters has been the sixth of the eight awards in failing this edition after the one of the Concord to the Spanish sanitary ware for their fight against the COVID-19; that of the Arts to the composers Ennio Morricone and John Williams; that of Communication and Humanities to the Guadalajara International Book Fair and the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts; that of Social Sciences to the Turkish economist Dani Rodrik and that of Sports to the pilot Carlos Sainz.
The award-winning writer, the third Canadian national to obtain this award, is the third consecutive woman to achieve the Princess of Letters and the ninth in her forty years of history after Siri Hustvedt, Fred Vargas, Margaret Atwood, Nélida Piñón, Fatema Mernissi , Susan Sontag, Doris Lessing and Carmen Martín Gaite. (June 19, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)