What surfaces in An Ocean of Static
are arrays of language, "arguments" that can be read as a chorus of subtle alternatives or sometimes like confused cries in a nautical crisis, along with records of journeys from centuries apart. J.R. Carpenter draws language through the icy passage of code's style, gripping the rigging with a performative voice developed in many presentations of this work. The book that results is in the ancient form of the cento (literally, a patchwork), but one that fits together like whole cloth, functioning as a sail, allowing air, human effort, and machinery to work together to carry us along.
Nick Montfort, Author of The Truelist
J.R. Carpenter's amazing exploration of the language of the sea, An Ocean of Static
, is a Moby Dick
and Ancient Mariner
for our times. A marvellous firework of a book! Highly recommended.
A bravura piece of writing ... stupendous, a fully realised work of art ... it's ultimately about not just the physical world, and how it has made us, but how we have worked to create the end of it.
Katy Evans-Bush, Poetry London
The pearl of poetic endeavor completely unlike any other. An Ocean of Static
is the debut collection by digital writer J.R. Carpenter, whose cryptic stream of ever-shifting code spectacularly reinvents the seascape.... It's a sure fact that seasickness has never been so thrilling.
Jade Cuttle, The Poetry School
The mixing of writing from the historical record (diary notes from voyages/descriptive writings) with more imaginative pieces (The Owl and the Pussycat, for example) and lists makes for an intriguing blend of textures, sometimes clashing, often in balance, suggesting at one point a stormy sea, at another a becalmed environment, or an underwater medley of sounds which can either clash and cause confusion or represent a harmonious whole. [...] A very impressive and intriguing debut.
Steve Spence, Litter
The difficulty of the in-between Carpenter captures and constantly grapples with in An Ocean of Static
makes for an important feminist mapping of being, migration, and digital technology in the Anthropocene and exalting poetics.
Deanna Radford, Arc Poetry Magazine
[Carpenter] makes us look again at language and at the way digital interfaces operate. An Ocean of Static
is ruthless in its plundering and relentless in its desire to expose process. She wants us to listen through the static, to try to connect.
Barbara Bridger, Tears in the Fence
This is a book not about ocean depths but about ocean surfaces ... and of course by extension it is about those scraps and fragments, partially hidden, random, and drifting, that are visible because they have floated up from the metaphorical blackness below [...] I would recommend An Ocean of Static
to anyone who is interested in questioning what a book of poems is and can be.