As the first comprehensive study of Irish American poetry ever published, Awake in Americaseeks to establish a conversation between Irish and Irish American literature that challenges many of the long-accepted boundaries between the two. In this distinctive book, Daniel Tobin presents a series of essays that combine poetry and literary criticism to form what he calls the poet’s essay.
The first section of Awake in Americareconsiders the dual tradition of Irish poetry through discussions of nineteenth- and twentieth-century poets as well as contemporary writers. The second section features a series of shorter chapters on poets in America. The third section explores the theme of “Crossings” and includes a consideration of Irish American and African American literature. The fourth, and final, section is comprised of a compositional memoir in which Tobin explores the role of hidden history in his own long poem, The Narrows.
Awake in Americaoffers an innovative reading of literary tradition in light of the routes by which tradition evolves as well as the roots from which tradition originates. It will be welcomed by poetry aficionados and by all scholars and readers of Irish and Irish American literature.
“Daniel Tobin’s remarkable range of literary and historical reference and his ability to convey his own sense of excitement to the reader make him a marvelous ambassador for poetry. This is a man who weaves webs of words with a magical touch—a bravura performance.” —Joseph Lee, New York University
“These essays usefully identify a tradition of twentieth-century Atlantic Irish writing in both Irish literature and American. Tobin’s commentaries will appeal both to the general reader interested in the ‘stuff’ (if not the craft) of poetry and to the academic reader who has an interest in American literature, Irish studies, and the conundra of hyphenate or hybrid subcultures. Tobin has already established the canon of poetry in that literature with The Book of Irish American Poetry. Awake in America promises to be a useful and popular companion to that book.” —Thomas Dillon Redshaw, University of St. Thomas