To a Fault: Poems

Overview

Winner of the 2005 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; winner of the 2005 Ireland Chair for Poetry Award; the only poetry book long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.
"A confident hybrid of voices and styles…tender and brilliant."—Irish Times
Journeying between his native Ulster and his adopted London, Nick Laird balances ideas of home and flight, the need for belonging and the need to remain outside. Dexterous, fresh, and deft, To a ...

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Overview

Winner of the 2005 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; winner of the 2005 Ireland Chair for Poetry Award; the only poetry book long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.
"A confident hybrid of voices and styles…tender and brilliant."—Irish Times
Journeying between his native Ulster and his adopted London, Nick Laird balances ideas of home and flight, the need for belonging and the need to remain outside. Dexterous, fresh, and deft, To a Fault does "more, in its range and ambition, than any other first collection…in at least the last ten years" (The Independent).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Uncommonly various, quirky and always intelligent, this poetic debut from Laird (raised in Northern Ireland, now a lawyer in London) comes on the heels of his debut novel, Utterly Monkey (Reviews, Nov. 14). Both attracted deserved plaudits in Britain; this book's verbal gifts, and its mix of city and country topics, could well do the same over here. Ulster sights and Ulster troubles play unmistakable roles in Laird's fluent lines: one poem takes place "at the mythic coast, by the kitchen stove"; another describes a man kneecapped by paramilitaries. As the book proceeds, Irish backgrounds give way to cosmopolitan vocabularies and to the concerns of any adult with a love life. Rhyming poems and other strict forms bid for quotation by all who have felt as Laird does: "Aubade," for example, begins: "Go home. I haven't slept alone/ in weeks and need to reach across/ the sheets to find not warmth but loss." As with Glyn Maxwell and Paul Muldoon (to whom he may be much compared), Laird's facility can shade over into glibness, and his slick forms can conceal their emotional cores. Just as often, though, his hints and phrases reveal a sad, uncertain, likable character. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It's no surprise that this rapt and accomplished first collection won multitudinous awards for Irish author Laird, whose first novel, Utterly Monkey, also carried away prizes. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393330366
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 1,328,013
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Laird

Nick Laird is the author of two previous collections of poetry, On Purpose and To a Fault. His honors include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Born in Ireland, he lives in New York and teaches at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents

Cuttings 15
The given 16
Poetry 17
The length of a wave 18
The fault 20
Remaindermen 21
The signpost 22
Imperial 24
The gritter 27
The mouth of the sea 28
Cycling through snow and fields on New Year's Eve 29
The rope bridge 30
The bearhug 31
Aubade 32
Disclaimer 33
Corridorsong 34
The downpour 35
Firmhand the queried 36
The eventual 38
A portrait of the artist as a joke 39
The layered 42
Animals 44
Scarewolf 45
The riddles of the Ardcumber book 46
Pedigree 49
Oswiecim 52
Done 54
To the wife 55
Everybody wears socks 56
On beauty 58
The trunk in the storeroom 59
The last Saturday in Ulster 61
Scenes from the nativity 62
The copier 63
A guide to modern Warsaw 65
Notes towards a final definition : work 66
Auction (no reserve) 67
The evening forecast for the region 68
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