Monday, May 03, 2010

"For All We Know" by Ciaran Carson. A Breathing Space

"For All We Know" is one of Ciaran Carson’s recent poetry books. Born in 1948, Ciaran Carson is the recipient of numerous literary awards.

"For All We Know" is an interesting poetry book, a poetic architecture built to mirror the structure of a musical fugue.

In the preamble to the book, Ciaran Carson provides in nuce an overview to this approach by using a quote from Glenn Gould:

« Fugue must perform its frequently stealthy work with continuously shifting melodic fragments that remain, in the ‘tune’ sense, perpetually unfinished ».

The poems in "For All We Know" are written in a couplet/two-line stanza form which results in an elegant page layout that allows the poems breathing space.
A breathing space which is part of the atmosphere of the book.

The book is divided into two parts – Part I and Part II, each with an identical number of poems, with identical titles, following one another in the same order, which also reminds us of a fugue.

The true fugue Ă©chafaudage however, originates in the poetic “narrative’ of the ensemble. The poems are story fragments, woven from images and details which are replayed, in shifting keys, in subsequent poems in the cycle.

The outcome is a crisscross of metaphors and auctorial voices , throughout pages, to be followed in a ‘serial’ reading manner: it’s virtually impossible to grasp the depth of this book if you cannot relinquish the habit of a ‘parallel’ read – primarily leafing through books with cruelty and curiosity, dissociating beginning from middle and ending, and back to a random opening of pages.

Here is a quote from "Rue Daguerre", the poem in Part I of the book.

“The dream I’d found you in faded like breath from a mirror”.

3 comments:

Arnold said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I

would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have

enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alena

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Irina said...

Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment on my blog.

I'm thrilled that you like it, and hope that you will visit again. If there's any particular question you might have on poetry, or a topic you'd like to see covered here let me know.

John Hayes said...

This is a very good review, & the book sounds like something that would interest me a good deal!

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