Objects from a Borrowed Confession (Ahsahta Press) | 2017
With OBJECTS FROM A BORROWED CONFESSION, poet Julie Carr has undertaken an expansive reexamination, amassing a project written over the last ten years that approaches the subject of confession from within the confession itself. Carr neither mounts an apology on behalf of confessional poets (there is no apology necessary), nor does she offer readers a straightforward critical appraisal of confession in writing itself. Rather, the poet approaches her topic as a theme worthy of consideration, offering fresh insight to what it is about the confessional text that can provide catharsis for one reader just as easily as make another uncomfortable.
“Objects from a Borrowed Confession vibrates with analyrical fervor, situated intimacy shared, a profound anti-generic communicability running over every edge, terribly beautifully trying to get at something. Having been given an all-but-impossible range of revelation, Julie Carr offers careful and intense imperatives for telling sung strained, estranged, touchingly, with an absolute precision of touch, hands laid on what she hands, all up in all she gives, having put her foot in it, too, dancing words with absolute flavor, preparing a table for pleasure and necessity improvised in contact, turning toward everything in turning toward you.”
“The gifted author of fluid yet edgy prose poems, Carr frequently treats sociopolitical issues (e.g., 100 Notes on Violence) but is here more personal and reflective. The volume opens with letters to an ex-lover’s ex-lover, whom the speaker claims to want to know better. She’s not chasing the past, which is ‘less than the light that falls toward my face. The future, however, is a red fox, running right past me.’ Instead of accumulated stories, she sees us each as a ‘perpetual vanishing,’ with the child’s death that opens the book’s second section shuddering her into the crucial, oft-skimmed present. Is confession a search for forgiveness or recognition? Actually, it seems more about attachment (you’re ‘made something rather than remaining (alone and) nothing.’ VERDICT: A rich meditation on self and others; for all smart readers.”
"Exciting Poetry for Spring" In Library Journal
“True to her interest in confession, Carr writes frankly about her children, who offer many of the book’s most touching and humorous moments. (‘Today my ten year-old daughter told me, while doing some Lady Gaga moves in the kitchen, that she had just two things to look forward to: owning a credit card and sitting in the front seat.’) She also writes of her sexual attraction to men other than her husband, thought it must be said the project never enters the realm of the salacious. Rather, Carr draws the reader close like a confidant; this sensation bolstered by the knowledge she spent a decade compiling the various sections in Objects. . . . The book feels haunted by the spiritual loneliness brought on by the death of a parent; in examining the confessional streak dominating our culture—from song lyrics to Facebook feeds—Carr decides we confess as a testament to our will to live: ‘What I confess to here is also nothing more or less than my aliveness. Why would I need to confess this: I am alive? Because I’m a child who outlives her mother.’”
Zack Ravas FOR Zzyzzyva
I am grateful for the choice I recently made to read Julie Carr’s new book, Objects from a Borrowed Confession (Ahsahta Press). Of it, it could be said that it is itself about confession. But in the process of following this human thesis, Carr has not created a poetry book in the confessional genre, but has given over the contents of a life, as poets and writers do, to the act and idea of confession, with its tandem regret and forgiveness, envy and apology, its Janus head of reflection and visioning. This acupunctural book emerges what we already know in our tissue and chronic pains: “There are, in life, competing passions. And perhaps we choose which ones to live in, or perhaps we only narrate the past” (15). This is, for better or worse, often the case, because, as Carr discloses, “…memory is the only way we know we really were the children we were, and not some other child crawling under a table or dancing on the bed to some other musical score, memory is, in fact, the one method we have for proving the existence of time [. . .]” (84).