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Go Giants: Poems Paperback – September 9, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0393347449 ISBN-10: 0393347443 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though Laird (On Purpose) now lives in New York, his third poetry collection looks back insistently to his youth in Northern Ireland, and to the modes and the literature of Ireland and the U.K. Laird's background can get him compared to Paul Muldoon, but a closer analogue is Glyn Maxwell, whose almost populist ease, and occasional swerves into mystery, Laird shares: his casual fluency, its sense of conversation among the ancient past, English books, Irish towns, and contemporary urbanity may charm or baffle Americans. The two-part collection begins with a miscellany—a delightful light poem of marital love (Talking in Kitchens), and another on pregnancy (Laird is married to the novelist Zadie Smith), a whimsical list of clichés (the title poem), a crushing and memorable anecdote about a girl bullied at school. Of The Future, Laird writes, I can tell you that the organizing principle is grief. You will lack weather. Laird ends with a more diffuse series in unrhymed tercets, its segments named for bits of Pilgrim's Progress, touching on his own time in New York and Rome; he decides that the history of history is ridiculous,/ that these specifics were sufficient, then oscillates between minutiae from travel, recollections of a childhood during the Troubles (The monotony of always being on a side!), and metaphysical quotables: We do as we are told./ The stars are hard and deaf and cold. (Sept.)

From Booklist

Now living in New York and teaching at Barnard College and Princeton University, the young Irish poet Laird grew up in the land of Heaney, Mahon, Muldoon, Ní Dhomhnaill, and Ní Chuilleanáin. Though one hears echoes of Muldoon, and Ní Chuilleanáin is name-dropped, Laird stands on his own feet, and one could wear out a thesaurus of superlatives describing his stanzas with their insouciant rhythms and line breaks that appear like a cliff in a cartoon, leaving you momentarily suspended in space with a dizzying view. The book has short lyrics, two prose poems, and a 22-page epic which borrows its title from Pilgrim’s Progress. The poems are saturated with tradition, formal but never stuffy. The vocabulary is rich but the words do the work of tessarae in a mosaic: many are plain, but all are a piece of a totality. “Because the problem with leaving home / is home follows . . . .” His previous honors include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He will win more—he deserves them. --Michael Autrey

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