From There to Here: Selected Poems and Translations

Ciaran Carson. Wake Forest Univ., $18.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-930630-88-8
This significant, accessible edition allows readers of Carson, who died this October, to witness the poet’s stylistic transformation across volumes—from long lines to more compressed ones, regular stanza lengths to a looser, free-verse style. What is consistent throughout Carson’s shape-changing verse is verbal playfulness: “Romeo was not built in a day, not to speak of Romulus or Remus—,” he writes in “Romeo,” while in companion poem “Juliet,” he imagines the heroine “fingering the oranges and the greens” in the local Verona Market where she meets her love interest. That same inventive sensibility applies to Carson’s more sinister subjects, such as in “Bomb Disposal,” in which he imagines the work entails “Listening to the malevolent tick/ Of its heart, can you read/ The message of the threaded veins/ Like print, its body’s chart?” This theme reemerges in later poems addressing urban anxiety, as in “Belfast Confetti:” “Suddenly as the riot squad moved in it was raining exclamation marks,/ Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type./ And the explosion Itself—an asterisk on the map.” This book serves as a comprehensive introduction to Carson for new readers, and one to be savored by longtime admirers of the Irish poet. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/29/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
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