"An immense precision is necessary," announces Edward Carson in Bird Flock Fish School , a collection of poetry that sees language as an example of "emergence," the spontaneous interaction of behaviours by which birds flock and fish travel in schools. These shimmering poems--which attempt to surprise the reader out of familiar ways of understanding nature, mortality, loss and love--articulate a vast, roving philosophical curiosity channelled through urgent form. Using a voice both sophisticated and simple, forged in unadorned couplets tuned to near-hallucinatory clarity, Carson's poems invent a new way of perceiving, a world where "everything unites, at odds with itself."
"These uncommonly direct, deviously wrought poems show scant care for poetic fashion and no fear in addressing, head-on, what we all like to pretend isn't the quandary: 'We're not at all sure, before/ knowing them, what we see is real,/ what we see emerging and disappearing before us,/soon vanishes for good.' That's gorgeous, as is so much else here." --Kevin Connolly