100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta Press) | 2010
Winner of the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize
Named a Top 5 Poetry Book of 2010 by Library Journal
Carr obsessively researches intimate terrorism, looking everywhere from Whitman and Dickinson to lists of phobias and weapon-store catalogs for answers. Do they lie in statistics, in statements by and about rapists and killers, in the capacity for cruelty that the poet herself admits to? This book is a dream-document both of light and innocence—babies and the urge to protect them—and of giving in to a wrenching darkness, where despair lies in the very fact that no single factor is to blame.
"In this polyphonic poem the voices of care-givers, killers, and children commingle and, disturbingly, sometimes overlap. Innocence and guilt are never far apart. ‘At the pool the boy in cammies reads an encyclopedia of weapons.’ This book has great moral complexity, gravitas, and courage."
Rae Armantrout, judge of the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize
" 'The book about violence must be a book of quotations,’ according to Julie Carr in 100 Notes on Violence, ‘For everyone speaks about violence.’ Few have spoken or written on the subject with the desperate accuracy and the incendiary beauty of this disturbing, necessary book. Here, the quotations include statistics and news reports as well as the more traditional poetic forms, all to engage finally a light like that of the sun, ‘its daily resurrection, daily assault.' "
"Here is an Edmond Jabès of the slaughterhouse, one whose spatial reality surrounds us and duplicates itself ferociously. To think of these poems or notes or quotations as distillations of catharsis and containment would be to belittle the shock of semantic and ethical recognition to which Hill gestures and that this work expresses. However, the poems in 100 Notes on Violence exude in their compositional and de-composing characterizations a fealty to confronting contemporary human reality and allowing it to articulate its vehement drive toward destruction.
We are implicated and damaged, and we are not conscious of the snares in which we are caught ‘. . . for everyone’s life is riddled.’ These Notes do result in a stunning and remarkable ‘book of memories,’ reminding us that an alternative existence can be imagined."
Jon Curley (2010)
Heavy with end rhyme: “feet like little suns// My brother drew a muscle then he drew a gun/ my envy turned me wild and my wild made me run,” the act of telling on ourselves, unburdening ourselves from the sins we carry, brings little relief in this poetic landscape. The music of this book is heavy, “I’ve loved your English so solo so done,” and parallels the weight of admission. We hardly feel that weight lifted. We hardly feel peace at all. So why read something so dark, so disturbing? It is beautiful… delicate… even graceful. Her language, the craft, and the way this work asks us to hold up a mirror as we read, is a journey of self-discovery worth taking. This book documents alcoholics, sexual predators, murderers, school shooters, unfit parents, and self-effacers. Carr gives them voice. In the first person, she speaks through them in interesting and dynamic ways. It is shockingly easy to get through 100 notes. To look into what’s secret. To uncover the taboo.