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On Purpose: Poems Paperback – July 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (July 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393338266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393338263
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,991,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Compact, careful, thoughtful and even wary, the second book of verse from Laird (who grew up in Northern Ireland and lives in London) gives the U.S. a fine representative of what younger mainstream British poets are doing right now. Like his peers, Laird writes shapely stanzas organized by description and sometimes by half-rhymes; he owes much to Glyn Maxwell or Paul Muldoon, though less so compared to his debut To a Fault. Here the tone is sadder, more civil, more often weighted by historical subjects. Also a novelist, Laird does best with historical personae: medieval actors in a morality play, for example, or soldiers who liberate a concentration camp, describing mass murder's aftermath with uncanny reserve. Even at his most personal, Laird feels the shadow of current events: he concludes with a set of short poems called The Art of War, in which the blisses and troubles of two adults remind him all too much of the public world. In Terrain, the snow on TV reminds him of the cloud of electronic data through which the government (like a malevolent boyfriend) may watch us as we sleep: you'd been watching a property show and had dozed,/ and now the screen was frantic, driving home through snow, alone. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“The dense purity of the language recalls the unflinching confessional mode of Robert Lowell and the tender Hughes of Birthday Letters.” (Time Out London)

“One of the most memorable meditations on love and marriage in contemporary literature. These 65 pages will knock you flat.” (Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A man with many published works under both novels and poetry, "On Purpose" is the work of someone who has seen much in the world, originating in Northern Ireland, now living in Rome. Tackling a wide arrange of emotions, Laird seeks to make readers laugh as well as cry. "On Purpose" is the work of much life experience, a great choice for poetry-enthusiasts. "Use of Spies": Upright and sleepless,/having watched three bad movies,/I am flying across the ocean to see you.//I am a warrior and nothing will stop me,/although in the event both passport control/and a stoned cabbie from Haiti will give it a go,/but I meant to mention something else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annery MM on February 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The poems in this volume are simple and direct and yet carry over in your mind way after the reading ... that second look at ordinary moments and experiences. You won't be sorry.
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