100 Notes on Violence
By Julie Carr, associate professor of English
Carr, winner of the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, 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.’ ”