Ciaran Carson’s Collected Poems – published on the occasion of his 60th birthday – gathers work from eight breathtaking collections.
From the neat shapes and thought of his earliest work, The New Estate, with its influence of Early Irish and Welsh nature notes, to the explosion of energy, inventiveness and verve in The Irish for No and Belfast Confetti; from the increasingly encyclopaedic range and formal dexterity of First Language and Opera Et Cetera to the sustained high pitch and wit of The Twelfth of Never; from the scalpelled precision of his biopsy of the causes and extent of war in Breaking News to the mysterious, moving and half-hinted narratives of For All We Know, his body of work, with its power surges and spikes, emerges as a triumph of style, strange fun and organic wholeness.
Collected Poems embodies a conversation with various traditions whose parameters it enforces and stretches. It ensures Ciaran Carson’s place at the cutting edge of contemporary art and secures his position as one of the finest poets at work today . . .