To Camus or Not To Camus?


I’m not an existentialist but I know a prodding thing when I see one. Which is why Gina Myers’ sweet essay up at ColdFront today is timely — my students just read The Myth of Sisyphus and watched the films, “Woman In the Dunes” (Teshigahara adapted Kobe Abe’s book of the same title) and “The Savages“, and are currently writing an essay in which they take one of the absurdist roles Camus explores in the essay and compares/contrasts it to each of the protagonists in the films. This would make sense if I had time to explain or you were one of my students. Mostly, I was just noting the serendipity of Gina writing about The Myth and revealing lots about her own personality, like it or not, in Poets Off Poetry. Enjoy!

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AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

6 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Great books, excellent essay. Living for the spirit
    of things when things aren’t enough. Positive Existentialism.
    I hope Saginaw is hit by some great thing some day. There’s
    room. Sisyphus is good for any modern poet to ponder.
    I like to add some Dostoevski.

  2. How did they respond to “The Myth of Sisyphus?”

    I was happy to read it – I think it’s awesome you taught it – but there was this lingering feeling of “um, man is better than the gods because he rolls a stone down a hill and is aware he has to go pick it up again?” I mean, I’m not one of those people who uses the term “nihilism” in a bad way lightly, but I don’t know what else to call that.

  3. I’m not sure how persistence in the
    face of failure or the perception of
    patterns in performance can be nihilism,
    which would deny the doggedness. It is
    an oblique connection, that’s true.
    “The Plague” struck me like Gina struck
    you, the first time through. The heart
    hides, but it will not stop.
    Good to see your philosophical face
    pop up again Ashok!

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