Ciaran Carson - For All We Know (paperback)
Selected as the Spring 2008 Choice by the Poetry Book Society (UK)*
Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, UK
Shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award
One of Only Five Poetry Books Selected by Publishers Weekly as "Best Books of the Year"
"The voices in this film noir poem--confident, seductive and hypnotic--draw the reader into a tragic, complex and dream-like love story." (Costa Poetry Award judges)
Ciaran Carson’s For All We Know is a pas de deux of two lovers, of the very poems themselves, that moves between personal attraction and betrayal against memories of the Troubles and other historical events (the 60s, the Second World War). This mysterious book of dialogues evokes Paris, Dresden and other European cities, while citing Cold War thrillers, fairy stories, popular music, and the art of the fugue. Ciaran Carson is one of the most versatile and imaginative contemporary poets writing in English. For All We Know is a virtuoso display of his powers.
“... the reader will at once be drawn into what is at once a love story, a mystery with elements of film noir and spy thriller, and a meditation on reality and illusion, truth and lies…a remarkable work, richly detailed, subtle, intricate and moving.” Alan Jenkins, for the Poetry Book Society*
“Borrowing its structure in part from the repetitions and variations of the musical fugue, this collection enacts the ways the past, present and future are interwoven. ... As the voices in the poems—and the poems themselves—talk to each other, Carson dissolves the borders between one time and another, between the personal and the historical, seeking and evading the truth always with the awareness that ‘The lie is memorized, the truth is remembered’.” Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
"Ciaran Carson's new volume of poems, For All We Know, is one he has been schooling himself to write all of his writing life. ... [It] is a tour de force. In it we see a poet who draws on the past without repeating, using the poetic tradition and his own earlier works as stepping stones toward a new form. This exciting new structure and the haunting story within it stand as the culmination of his work to date." Helen Emmitt, Irish Literary Supplement
"It is the extraordinary combination of lyricism and storytelling in which Carson captures this idea [of memory] that makes me want, having finished the book, to return to it perpetually."
Wes Davis, The Yale Review, January 2009
$12.95 April 2008 110 pages