The Mirrormaker: Poems

The Mirrormaker: Poems

by Brian Laidlaw


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In The Mirrormaker , songwriter and poet Brian Laidlaw melds myths ancient and contemporary among the raspberries, wolves, and taconite mines of Minnesota’s Iron Range.

A companion volume to Laidlaw’s 2015 project, The Stuntman , this collection fuses the stories of two fabled couples: the mythical Narcissus and Echo, and Bob Dylan and Echo Star Helstrom, subject of the song “Girl from the North Country.” But where The Stuntman focused on Narcissus, The Mirrormaker takes its primary inspiration from Echo, drawing on ecocritical readings of American history and interrogating the masculine logic of resource extraction.

In these poems, Laidlaw explores themes of history and celebrity, love and longing, myth and meaning, in a landscape both ravaged and redemptive. He pits romantic obsession against self-obsession—“The first time I saw the moon / I thought it was my idea”—and asks whether a meaningful distinction can ever be drawn between the two. These themes are explored further in a companion song suite, written by Laidlaw and recorded with a longtime collaborator from the Iron Range, that accompanies this book via download.

Sharp, searching, and ecstatically musical, The Mirrormaker is a genre-expanding exploration of boom and bust—in mining economies and in young love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571314840
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Brian Laidlaw is the author of The Stuntman. Widely published in journals and anthologies, he has had poems in New American Writing , Iowa Review , FIELD , and The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral ; lyrics in American Songwriter magazine; and a songwriting credit on the Grammy Award-winning album Can You Canoe? by the Okee Dokee Brothers. An accomplished musician, he has toured widely in the United States and Europe, and his most recent album is Amoratorium from Paper Darts Press. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's MFA program in poetry, Laidlaw has taught songwriting at McNally Smith College of Music and is now pursuing a PhD in creative writing at the University of Denver.

Table of Contents



Echo’s Ailments


Iron Ironworker

Twin Brothers Drowning in a Flooded Ore Pit

Landlocked Leave

The Sparrows

Medicine Cabinet Inventory

The Dinosaurs

Echo’s Impressions

Upstate Mothers

Playtime Empire

The Golden Rule of Copyright

Dark Sides


Echo’s Theory

Holster, Upholster

Dead Pony Recapitulation



They Found a Wolf

Echo’s Prom

No Anemics



Echo’s Diagnosis

Returning to the Sycamore

Blood Orange

Blood Orange

Echo’s Prognosis

Assumption Hall



[I will make a space for you]

Don't Go

Canopy Fire

The Farrier’s File

[I am laughing convulsively]

Cherry Bomb


Echo’s Halloween

Blood Orange

Echo’s Dreams

If Earth


[The place I love is burning]


Liner Notes

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