"In From Nothing Daniel Tobin explores the intersections of war and science, rationality, and the vastly large and intensely small in and through the characters and voices of the major figures in the scientific community of the twentieth century, most notably the Jesuit priest and mathematician, Georges Lemaître. Tobin brings his learning and astounding imaginative powers to bear on such central questions as the origin and end of the universe, how something came from nothing, human depredation and beauty, and the intractable mystery of time. This is a memorable, tragic, and moving book that should be read by everyone who wonders how we got here and what our being here can mean." — Alan Shapiro
Unified by its theme of metamorphosis, these poems descend deeply into subjects as divergent as a jetty that disappears during high tide, to a talking parasitical head, to a sandlot baseball legend, to a famine road in Ireland, to Orpheus, to Wittgenstein, to a murdered poet and his wife, and finally to grave personal loss, tracing through all of its many attentions the thread that binds the physical to the metaphysical—a psychic passage from death back to life again.
A collection of impressive symbolic and formal variety that is both fragile and resilient.
Award-winning poet and scholar Daniel Tobin’s Belated Heavens spans from prehistory to modern Manhattan, Neanderthals “cowering in caves” to a man snoring in Penn Station as if he’s “swallowed an espresso machine.” With his varied iconographies Tobin delves into timeless themes of violence, destruction and endurance, in poems that run the gamut from form to free verse as they offer the reader an underlying hope, a tentative belief that humanity can survive and thrive despite the volatility of the world.
Belated Heavens is a featured book on Poetry Daily, and Massachusetts Poetry Festival calls it a "must read book." Winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry.
Awake in America
"Daniel Tobin's Awake in America speaks for generations of Irish Americans. This incisive and moving critique of poetry and tradition pushes the frontiers of Irish Studies, limning Irish American culture through its poets—O'Reilly, Ridge, Moore, Stevens, Coffey, Bogan, McGrath, Liddy, Montague, Wall, Grennan, Delanty, Agee, Donaghy, Tobin himself, and many others. Awake in America trumps the many facile takes on Irish America, revealing its cultural poetics of self-exclusion, solidarity politics, linguistic hybridity, and indelible (be)longings. Tobin's insights will challenge scholars and readers to survey a new country of Irishness, at once inner, ardent, and textual. Tobin—with this book, his poetry, and his massive Book of Irish American Poetry—is pressing Irish Studies to see the American cousins at the table."
—Joseph Lennon, author of Irish Orientalism and Fell Hunger
Second Things is Daniel Tobin's fourth book of poems, and his second collection with Four Way Books, with a third forthcoming in 2010. Following 2005's The Narrows, which traces an Irish-American boy-to-manhood in lush poems reminiscent of both Derek Walcott and Seamus Heaney, Second Things evinces a tone that is wholly new.
“Daniel Tobin’s new book of poems takes its title and form from the literal structure that dominates the poet’s childhood landscape, the 'gleaming bridge built in our lifetime,' the Verrazano-Narrows in Brooklyn... Tobin has achieved a work of dense complexity that lacks neither technical mastery nor emotional depth... sublime... magnificent”
—The Harvard Review
Awards and recognition:
Featured book on Poetry Daily
Finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Poetry Book Award
“Daniel Tobin’s Double Life is the kind of book that W.H. Auden would have liked: full of intelligent moral questioning about the subtle ways in which we are complicit with social, civil, and personal forms of cruelty and oppression. Tobin’s poems on Bosch and Bartolomé de Las Casas exemplify how conscience in this book is also the consciousness of evil. These poems attempt to do what Yeats suggested was one ideal for poetry: to hold justice and reality in a single thought.”
Where the World is Made
"Packed with articulate, sensitive, accessible poems that speak, in part, from his Catholic heritage . . . His poems resemble vignettes or short stories, each creating a unique image and placing the reader squarely in that image, in that vision, while never verging toward prose or pedantry . . . Tobin's world is, indeed, made of the marvels and of the terror. Recommended."
Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney
Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, author of nine collections of poetry and three volumes of influential essays, is regarded by many as the greatest Irish poet since Yeats. Passage to the Center is the most comprehensive critical treatment to date on Heaney's poetry and the first to study Heaney's entire body of work (including his recent volumes, Seeing Things and The Spirit Level). It is also the first to examine the poems from the perspective of religion, one of Heaney's guiding preoccupations. According to Tobin, the growth of Heaney's poetry may be charted through the recurrent figure of "the center," a key image in the relationship that evolved over time between the poet and his inherited place, an evolution that involved the continual re-evaluation and re-vision of imaginative boundaries. In a way that previous studies have not, Tobin's work examines Heaney's poetry in the context of modernist and postmodernist concerns about the desacralizing of civilization and provides a challenging engagement with the work of a living master.
"The readings are clear, complete, thorough, and give insight on both the poetry and Heaney's use of poetics."
—Robert F. Garratt
“So refreshingly original and so much needed... Tobin opens new ground as he strikes inwards and downwards, unearthing interpretive treasures and, best of all, new kinds of questions.”
—South Atlantic Review
“A thorough analysis of Heaney’s oeuvre to date, one that avoids the limitations of formalism and sectarian ideology.”
—Irish Studies Review
“Tobin’s very detailed and admirably interconnected commentary on the poems themselves is impressive.”
—World Literature Today
“A valuable contribution to modern Irish literary scholarship... Invigorating and commendable.”
—Modern Language Review
The Book of Irish American Poetry from the 18th Century to the Present
“This anthology is far more than an original work of scholarship: it is a major act of recovery, which rescues from oblivion the work of important writers who have been the creators of the Irish American literary consciousness. Professor Tobin has achieved the invention of a whole new field.”
Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play: Essays on the Practice and the Art
A follow up to the highly praised Poets Teaching Poets, Daniel Tobin and Pimone Triplett's Poet's Work, Poet's Play gathers together essays by some of the most important voices in contemporary poetry: Carl Dennis, Stephen Dobyns, Tony Hoagland, Heather McHugh, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Eleanor Wilnor, Dean Young, and the late Larry Levis and Agha Shahid Ali.
Lively, accessible, and erudite, the pieces range from discussions on syntax and the syllable to the complexities of canon formation under the shadow of imperialism, race, and history. Exploring the work of John Donne, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, Philip Larkin, Charles Olsen, Ezra Pound, Anne Carson, Robert Herrick, Harryette Mullen and many others, Poet?s Work, Poet's Play---like its predecessor volume---will be an invaluable tool for teachers, students, and poets at every level.
"Gathering together essays by unquestionably important poets, Poet's Work, Poet's Play has immense pedagogical value in the way it demonstrates how to discover in poetry resources of language and structure often overlooked in first, and ensuing, readings of complex texts."
—Laurence Goldstein, Professor of English, University of Michigan, and Editor, Michigan Quarterly Review
Light in Hand: The Selected Poems of Lola Ridge
Light in Hand offers selections from Ridge's first three volumes of poetry: The Ghetto and Other Poems, Sun-Up and Other Poems, and Red Flag. The poems in this volume showcase Ridge's critical yet compassionate eye for the world around her, from the Jewish ghetto of the Lower East Side to the bloody frontlines of World War I. Rich with finely-drawn details of person and place, Ridge's poems marry a materialist political sensibility with a deep spiritual belief in the ability of humankind to transcend the world’s havoc and strife.