To a Fault, Nick Laird’s debut collection, won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize; On Purpose, his follow up, won a Somerset Maugham award for travel writing and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. In Go Giants, his third and most ambitious volume, Nick Laird’s poetry travels yet further afield, connecting the shores of his native Northern Ireland with those of the American east coast where he spends increasing time.
The result is an almost trans-Atlantic fusion, an inventive melding of Ulster lyricism with proto-Beat rhythms and phrase. The author’s gaze appears longer and more penetrative than before, casting back across the ocean to find a fresh perspective on older questions while vividly capturing the vibrancy of the new. Nick Laird writes with wit and candour, with polemic and persuasion, with no subject seemingly too large or too small: weapons of mass destruction, sectarian violence, religious faith, Jonah and the Whale, marriage, fatherhood, a daughter. A profoundly versatile collection, equally capable of public crescendo and a more personal hum, Go Giants is a daring and a thrilling endeavour by a writer described by Colm Toibin as ‘an assured and brilliant voice in Irish poetry’.