Monday, May 14, 2007

Pg. 69: Daniel Tobin's "The Narrows"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Daniel Tobin's The Narrows.

The Narrows is Tobin's third book of poetry.

Among the praise for The Narrows:
The Narrows is a prodigious feat of raw, physical, moral, psychic and literary energy in which Daniel Tobin recounts the many-sided history of his family. Conceived around the oldest theme in Irish literature, the dinnseanchas or lore of place poem, the poems in this collection range back and forth between the West of Ireland and New World Brooklyn. Tobin’s intention is to locate the narrative of family within the larger contexts of history, diasporic and literary, and to explore the small triumphs and great heartaches at the heart of family life. Passionate, complex, and original, The Narrows marks Tobin as one of the best poets of his generation. The Robert Lowell Irish America has been waiting for has arrived.
—Eamonn Wall

Written for the most part in a sinewy, richly textured blank verse, The Narrows is part family history and part bildungsroman bearing enough psychic weight to break the back of most poets, though Daniel Tobin succeeds in crafting a poem possessed of both narrative power and astonishing lyric depth and grace. All stories of arrival and survival in America are the American story, but rarely are they told as compellingly as this one.
—B.H. Fairchild
Daniel Tobin is the author of three books of poems, Where the World is Made, Double Life, and The Narrows, a book of criticism, Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney, as well as numerous essays on poetry. His poems have appeared widely in such journals as The Nation, The Paris Review, Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, The Southern Review, and The Times Literary Supplement, and have been anthologized in Hammer and Blaze, The Bread Loaf Anthology of New American Poets, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, and elsewhere. Among his awards are a “Discovery” / The Nation Award, the Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, The Greensboro Review Prize, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is Chair of the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston.

Read a few poems from The Narrows.

The Page 69 Test: Daniel Tobin's The Narrows.

--Marshal Zeringue