Tolstoy Killed Anna Karenina: Barrois/Dixon Killed Tolstoy

A talented and experienced poet, Dara Barrois/Dixon reflects on her relationship to people, animals, objects, and, most importantly, the authors who impacted her writing.

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Have you ever thought about your relationship to the books you’ve read in your life? How about the people, animals, and objects that have affected you and your writing? Dara Barrois/Dixon (formerly Dara Wier) explores our relationship to literature and poetry and how the authors of the past affect our own writing.

Published earlier this year in June, Tolstoy Killed Anna Karenina is a fascinating collection that examines complicated human emotions such as love, despair, anxiousness, and kindness. Every page brings you to something new, whether it is the humorous little poem “Comes” or the thoughtful couplet poem “Being Nervous Is Only Human,” which juxtaposes calming imagery with the feeling of existential anxiety. As an author of nine poetry collections and the recipient of several awards, including the Guggenheim Foundation award, it is no surprise Dara Barrois/Dixon’s poetry came out beautifully in this collection. But what was her inspiration for her writing?

I’m thinking about what it means when someone calls something a tragedy when in fact it amounts to a crime.

Dara Barrois/Dixon

In addition to the exploration of complex emotions, Barrois/Dixon gives credit in her poem “Credits” to the authors whose works inspired her own writing. She also explores the feelings and thoughts we have when reading such pieces and the process in which these stories “become(s) part of your own story.” In the title poem, “Tolstoy Killed Anna Karenina,” we see the author empathize with the heroine from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – from her struggles with love and her ultimate demise. The latter, Barrois/Dixon blames on Leo Tolstoy himself, as she explores in her “Notes and Evidence” section of her collection.

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Ultimately, Dara Barrois/Dixon’s Tolstoy Killed Anna Karenina is a collection of reflective and humorous poems. They are light in tone and yet thoughtful in content and will make you wonder: why did Tolstoy kill Anna Karenina?

Read more about Leo Tolstoy here!