Some books surprise and this one is no exception. Whether he is writing about an exchange of words in a Grimsby fish shop that trigger unexpectedly an account of the journeys of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a romantic relationship that is described in terms of a tennis match or the hushed wonder of discovering great crested newts under a lifted log, Malcolm Carson has a way of enthralling us with his delivery.
Malcolm Carson neatly catches our attention in the first poem of his new collection Route Choice. ‘Bookmark’ is based on the rather familiar device of memory triggered by a rediscovered photograph. From a book that has long been
left quiet and unbothered, out slips a photo of myself, my sister, long since lost.
I like the passing thought that a book might be bothered by being taken down from a shelf; but more disturbing is the subtle suggestion that it might be the sister herself – rather than merely her picture – who is destined subsequently to be lost.
“This collection ticks most boxes for me. Constantly engaging, in subject and language.... The collection’s title poem is explained midway through the Nepalese trek section. Rarefied that may seem, but Carson takes me with him as ever. This is another fine collection from Shoestring. Read it.” David Ashbee, South
“There’s a world going on in Carson’s imagination here, and he has skill both to populate it with vocabulary...that shows how much he inhabits that world. At the same time, he doesn’t overly interpose himself between the reader and the thing he imagines.” Ian Pople, The Warwick Review
“Musical, resigned, sensuous… So persuasive is Carson’s voice.” Nigel Jarrett, Acumen
“Malcolm Carson’s poetry is precise, observant, finely crafted. The poetry is a gathering of life, put away carefully for winter, just like that stack of dried kindling in Nepal. And, like dried kindling, it is ready to burst into a vivid flame.” Steven Matthews, Cumberland News (read the full review)
“Malcolm Carson's Breccia is a find… It suggests a kind of modesty and yet solidity at the same time… The voice is strong, the language sensuously enacts what is described… His themes are those of loss and gain in an ever-changing world, the limits of knowledge and remembering, the making of order from disorder and of how disorder can make a nonsense of our attempts to control the world about us… you should be able to tell that this is very much my kind of book. Anyone who likes reading fine poems will think so too.” Matt Simpson, Stride (read the full review)