In Float, poet, essayist, translator, critic, playwright and professor Anne Carson (Nox) offers new poetry and prose presented in 23 separately bound chapters, arranged in an attractive acetate case. It is a marriage of penetrating intellect, inspiring language and the art of the book. "Powerless Structures Fig. II (Sanne)," for example, is a short poem on the death of a loved one that concludes, "Three steps up no steps down/ she dies/ in April 2010 of alcohol and indescribable longing." "Eras of Yves Klein" contains six pages of personal biographical entries about this French artist, each line beginning with "The Era of..."--including "The Era of Covering Up Rosicrucian Beliefs with the Vocabulary of Phenomenology so as Not to Be Ridiculed by Paris Intelligentsia." Another, "Maintenance," is an amusing take on upkeep--in one line asking "Is order an issue of maintenance as in in what order as in the order given in the diagram the order they came out of the box etc."

Carson ruminates on the process of translation in "Variations on the Right to Remain Silent," citing Joan of Arc, Francis Bacon and Friedrich Hölderlin. And in the lyrical poem "Wildly Constant," the narrator reflects, "I always walk in the morning./ I don't know why anymore./ Life is short," and continues with what could be a summary description of Float: "What would it be like/ to live in a library/ of melted books?/ With sentences streaming over the floor/ and all the punctuation/ settled to the bottom as residue." A visit to the library inside Carson's head is always worth standing in line. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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