By Anne Carson
It’s a striking book, if you can call it a book at all. Maybe it’s many books. A collection? An assemblage? In any case, a book-like thing, an aura of the curious, concentrated energy of language.
Here’s how Carson describes Float:
“A collection of twenty-two chapbooks whose order is unfixed and whose topics are various. ¶ Reading can be freewill.”
Here’s how I describe it:
22 slim volumes, cozy in a clear plastic case. Arranged roughly yet not exactly in gradient order from dark blue to light green. Volumes of varying length, ranging from 2 page list, to 8 page prose-poem play, to 19 page essay on silence. Short poems and long, verse and prose; a collection of “stacks”; “A Lecture on Pronouns in the Form of 15 Sonnets”; translated poems; finally, “A Pair of Lyric Lectures”.
Themes or motifs include: lists, drama, playful critique, appropriation and experimentation with forms; merging of creativity and inquiry, irreverent historicism, imagination. A single curved line serves as a sort of logo-mark for the collection. Just floating there, outside the text, on the front cover.
I know of Carson as a poet of prose, a maker of myth. I learn here she “teaches ancient Greek for a living”, and has written 15 other books.
The collection is marked by a sense of deft, free-wheeling creativity, from an artist who’s earned the right to invent with abandon.