Editors' Introduction

In her beautiful prose poem, Eros the bittersweet, Ann Carson describes the "trajectory of eros" as one that "moves from the lover toward the beloved, then ricochets back to the lover himself and the hole in him unnoticed before. Who is the real subject of love poems? Not the beloved. It is that hole." Carson continues, "Reaching for an object beyond himself, the lover is provoked to notice that self and its limits. For a new vantage point, which we might call self-consciousness, he looks back and sees that hold." "Seeing my hole, I know my whole, he says to himself" (Ann Carson, Eros the Bittersweet [Campaign: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998], 30, 32-3, 33). The classical image that persists today is the desire as lack, or absence, where the self is a hole, an insatiable emptiness that restlessly desires wholeness, whose hole drives him to become that which he can never be. Love, on this model, might be inconceivable without tragedy; its satiety is also our loss.
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DOI 10.5840/symposium200711226
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