The Mirrormaker: Poems

Milkweed. Oct. 2018. 96p. ISBN 9781571314840. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781571319487. POETRY
Singer/poet Laidlaw follows up The Stuntman by blending the story of Echo and Narcissus with that of Echo Star Helstrom and Bob Dylan, who immortalized her in "Girl from the North Country." Certainly, Echo is a poignant presence throughout, not only for her insightful wordplay ("here's to being heretofore human, here's/ to the time being") but simply her insights. "Just ask Echo// we want to invent a microphone that makes the moon its coil," says one poem; elsewhere, she says we're "dreaming of turning into the rich/ dust of our labor." Also striding through, "tallnorthcountrygirl" locates us in a world where "boys…/torch dead elms// like ten elkhorns" and observes "when we met/ you were already/ onstage." Yet readers won't dwell on the framework as they steer through this richly variegated and thoughtful work. What matters overall is the landscape, threatened with despoliation; the tough, ingratiating persona ("I missed the day they said think small"); and a beautifully articulated sense of longing.
VERDICT Look for the release of accompanying songs, but first get the book.
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