red doc> may find Geryon all grown up and answering simply to "G," but Carson's red-winged anti-hero is still the crown prince of erotic, melancholy foibles, and the crew he assembles in this long-awaited sequel is as stunning and strange a cast as the one introduced in 1998's Autobiography of Red. red doc> often feels like Carson referencing Carson, as she somehow maintains the trademark Sapphic love triangles and terse metaphors that drove the first book—with "crows as big as barns" and the claim that love is nothing more than "a big bunch / of grass that grows up in / your mind and makes you / stupid"—but also finds a way to push Geryon into new territories of dry, vaudevillian Americana. Whether she's talking war vets, flying cows, Latin etymology, or Elvis, red doc> finds Carson once again blurring the lines of prose and poetry, and challenging both genres within a single poem. "What is the difference between / poetry and prose you know the old analogies prose / is a house poetry a man in flames running / quite fast through it," she writes.
This book review was originally published in American Poet, Volume 44, Spring 2013.