Get Your Premium Membership

Anne Carson Biography | Poet

Photo of Anne Carson

Anne Carson was born on June 21, 1950, somewhere with Toronto, Ontario. She learned ancient Greek with the help of an instructor that had a Latin origin while she was in high school. Greek contributed to her continuing interest in Hellenic and classical Literature. She went to St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. Although she left twice, she was awarded her Bachelor of Arts in 1974 while she received her Master of Arts in the year 1975 and finally, her Ph.D. in the year 1981. On top of it, she studied Greek metrics in the University of S.t Andrews in Scotland for a year.

Major Achievements and Works

She busted into the international poetry scene with her long poem “Kinds of Water” in 1987. Carson has published many books of poetry, some include; Irony, Glass and God (New Directions, 1995), that was shortlisted for the Forward Prize, Short Talks (brick books, 1992), and many others.

Autobiography of Red (Knopf, 1998), that was shortlisted for both the awards in National Book Critics Circle and the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, The Beauty of the Husband: A Tangos fictional essay (Knopf, 2001), winner of the T.S Eliot Prize for Poetry and also is her most recent work, Nox (New Directions, 2010).

She is also a well-known classics’ scholar and translator of both If not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Knopf, 2002) and An Oresteia in 2009. She also the authored of Eros the Bittersweet (Princeton University Press, 1986).

Her Honors and awards include; the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Poetry, the Lannan Literary Award, the MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim fellowship. In the American Academy based in Berlin, Germany, Anne was the Anna-Maria of Kellen Fellow.

Additionally, she taught at Princeton University from 1980-1987 and was the Director of Graduate Studies in Classics at McGill University. Besides all this, Anne also taught at Emory University, University of California, Berkeley and California College of Arts under the Classical languages and literature.

Currently, Anne Carson is a professor of Comparative Literature and Classics at the University of Michigan.

Work Facts

One of her works Autobiography of Red takes its resemblance from the Legend Hercules. In the book of poetry, she makes many peculiar choices. Adam Kirsch, an author of New Republic, notes that in the book, Steischoros, Herakles kills Geryon and takes his red cattle.

Her book led to strong reactions from different periodicals. Critics branded Anne Carson a heartbreak philosopher while she also said that her epic poems did not make issues any easy for her.

Critics wondered if Anne Carson had truly produced the promised verse in the subtitle of the book. Kirsch maintained that the writings were simple, laid out in alternating short and long lines with no level of rhythm or strictness.

Stephen Burt, a publisher in Weekly writer notes that in Men on the off hours, her book of short poems which included verse essays, love poems, shooting scripts, and commemorative prose, from supposed TV dramas as well as poems written for paintings was acclaimed. While reviewing Salon collection, Kate Moses recognized it to be some kind of meditation on time, saying that it involves all of the picnic time which spreads behind itself, and that is life, sex, love or even death.

‘Men In the Off Hours’ won the Griffin Poetry Prize as well was in the finals of the Literary Award (supported by the governor) and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Then in 2001, The Beauty of the Husband was published by Anne Carson: A Fictional Essay with 29 Tangos, some novel-verse which had a titled subject. According to Daphne Merkin. The verse novel received an award from the T.S. Eliot Prize and also received more praises. In 2000, Anne was awarded a “genius” grant from MacArthur’s Foundation.


Since her tremendous achievement of 2001, Anne Carson went ahead and published some volume of opera, poetry and essays,” Decreation (2005). It comprises of long prose divisions that contain strong criticism with a philosophical investigation, short lyrics, a screenplay, and oratorio. The book covers the subject matter right from the title and takes into consideration the idea of philosopher Simone Weil. She explains, Weil’s understanding of “decreation” is “underestimating if the creature in us, is enclosed in self as well as understood by self.” 

Anne Carson: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes