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Map of the Folded World, John Gallaher's third full-length collection, examines the eros and desperation of suburban America with the precision of a cartographer's eye. But as its title suggests, it does so according to the polar opposite of convention. More concerned with subtext than narrative, often childlike in tone and propelled by the logic of innocence, Gallaher's poems don't shy away from a bottom-line sensibility: “If you can just run fast enough,” one poem offers, “no one will ever die. // Do you remember that? / And are you better now?” This is a book filled with swimming pools and bridges, houses and families, the ordinary places, objects, and people that connect us. However, these same things are often misunderstood when it comes to their capacity for danger. As Gallaher observes, “It doesn't really matter...what / you're drowning in, / once you realize you're drowning.” Map of the Folded World brings us back to a territory that we never knew we had discovered, as it attempts to locate an ever-shifting present on an ever-changing field.
"Gallaher's whimsical and empathic poems unfold. The subjects of these poems are stalked by their fantasies (“A film crew will follow you, they promise. And a little/ dog”) and face the inevitable with a bit of a grin (“All the old people left and then we were the old people”). Throughout, these lines are filled with pleasure and wisdom." —Publishers Weekly
University of Akron Press
Gallaher, John, "Map of the Folded World" (2009). The University of Akron Press Publications. 120.