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Up Late by Nick Laird

Up Late by Nick Laird

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Nick Laird's powerful new collection reflects on the strange and chaotic times we live in. Reeling in the face of collapsing systems and the banalities and distortions of modern life, the poet confronts age-old anxieties, questions of aloneness, friendship, illness and death, the push and pull of daily existence. Laird is a poet capable of heading off in any and every direction, where layers of association transport us from a harbour in County Cork to the library steps in New York's Washington Square, from a face-off between Freud and Michelangelo's Moses to one between the poet and a squirrel in a Kilburn garden.

And at the heart of the collection lies the title sequence 'Up Late', a profound meditation on a father's dying, and winner of the 2022 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. There is conflation and conflagration, rage and fire, neither of which are seen as necessarily destructive. But there is great tenderness, too, a fondness for what grows between the cracks, especially those glimpses into the unadulterated world of childhood, where everything is still at stake and infinite as 'the darkness under the cattle grid'.

'Up Late, passionate and angry as Hamlet, is formally brilliant, an exercise in control.' Martina Evans, Irish Times'Laird's fifth collection glimmers with angsty maturity as it manoeuvres its way between introspection and elegy . . .

Elsewhere, Laird cracks open the poetry of sensitivity to reveal a raw sense of politics and injustice "as the rich get richer and the poor get fucked".' Philip Terry, Guardian


Publication: 6 Jun 2024, Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571378685

Extent: 96 pages

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