PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Jen Schmitt on Ekphrasis Rachel Hadas on Text and Pandemic Kirsty Gunn Essaying two Jee Leong Koh Palinodes in the Voice of my Dead Father Maureen Mclane Correspondent Breeze
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

Cover of Float
Jay DegenhardtA Blue Array
Anne Carson, Jonathan Cape, 2016 (£16.99) Reviewed by Jay Degenhardt
A TRANSPARENT plastic box encloses Anne Carson’s Float, a stack of twenty-two chapbooks. One side of the container is missing, through which the assorted poems, lectures, essays, and performances fall out. The contents page comes towards the top of this stack, and the works are listed in alphabetical order. By the time the collection fell into my hands, this order was gone – if it had ever been there to begin with. There is something more than aleatory in the composition, the swirling and perforated pile that practically encourages readers to lose any coherent arrangement they establish between the texts, ranging from discourse on the translation of silence to an elegy for a brother encoded in an elegy for a sister-in-law. The entire point seems to be more the absence of an established order – any established order – than the reader’s choice in creating one. There is one exception to the provisional alphabetism of the contents page; at its centre lies ‘108 (flotage)’, a poem in the form of a list from 1 to 108. Rather than being a stable island upon which the rest of the collection can settle, we find it is punctured throughout by skipped or lost articles, ‘like a winter sky, high, thin, restless, unfulfilled. That’s when I started to think about the word flotage.’

The booklets themselves have sleek, delicate pages; the paper covers range from pale green to deepest ocean blue, like the view one has of the spectrum of light filtered by water, fading into navy as one sinks from the surface ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image