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Still Life by Ciaran Carson


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Carson’s great gift is to reveal the mind as it moves and processes elusive experience and admits the fictiveness of our deepest-held certainties: time, history, language, and memory. — Maria Johnston, Poetry Ireland Review

Ciaran Carson is simply one of the great writers of our time. There are few better books than his Collected Poems. Hot on the heels of From There to Here: Selected Poems and Translations (2018) comes Still Life, a dazzling collection written in six months of this year. Each of these poems begins with a painting (Canaletto, Poussin, Cézanne, Monet and Velázquez as well as contemporary Irish artists).

By contemplating it, or by looking closely or remembering carefully, his mind roams, embracing parts of his days and, often, observations in the course of a daily walk with his wife, Deirdre, near their home in Belfast. Following his diagnosis with incurable lung cancer in March of this year Still Life stares mortality in the face. A book of uncommon bravery, it is a hymn to art and to the ordinary beauties of a blessed life.

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