This collection is many things, but one of them is a study of people (especially women) who cut through language ... Throughout Float are these gestures of power and of rage: taking back the story, or, failing that, ruining it. Biting the apple, lighting the fire, marking the letter, blowing the kazoo. 'If you are not the free person you want to be, you must find a place to tell the truth about that,' Carson writes at one point. She herself has written something wild and weird and luminous. She writes how you might write if you were not constrained, not afraid of being misunderstood. We can't be free all the time, but Carson provides the hint of a door — or, failing that, a match.
The result is an increased sense of intimacy, a different sort of union with the work, because what’s being displayed, at the core, what’s being offered, laid bare, is nothing less than the workings of a mind itself ... Float feels saturated in collaboration, a sense of interaction and conversation, not only with the reader, but with writers, thinkers, and artists from before and from now.
Whether one skims or dives, there are treasures to be found ... Still, the question arises: twenty-three chapbooks? Perhaps Carson and her publishers simply felt it was time for another book, and this was the material they had on hand. It’s doubtful anyone would cry foul if one of the sheaves went missing and another appeared in its place, but the whole coheres ... Float sinks when it becomes overly insistent on associations that rub out meaningful distinctions ... A little mundanity can be a tonic, and sometimes the view is clearer if one steps aside and peers over Carson’s shoulder, rather than through her periscope.
...the sensibility of (good) poetry permeates her texts—the language is eclectic, unexpected and exact; the voice singular, idiosyncratic ... Float, as the name suggests, resists calcification on both a micro and macro level. It wants to remain in flux, perhaps because its concepts are too fine to merit certainty’s stillness ... The twenty-two selections of Float seem to be presented as a group because they were unpublished loose ends without any place else to go. There is no indication they were conceived as components of an overarching conversation and yet collectively, they gesture toward one ... Float revels in its splintered state more than any of her previous titles.