Daniel Tobin's stunning new collection, Double Life, takes its name from a vision of humanity at once passionately earthbound and spurred by the metaphysical. These poems range from haunting meditations on the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch to an astonishing polyphonic sequence based on the life of Father Bartolomeo de Las Casas, who died in 1566 and wrote the first bill of rights in the New World. Between these two longer orchestrations appear works both musically diverse and startling in their formal virtuosity, as attuned to Plato, the Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, Keats, and the natural world as to TV talks shows, the news, physics, movies, and fast-food restaurants. From the persona of an Irish-Catholic Brooklyn youth on a school trip to Spain to that of a grown man of the suburbs "hollowed by doubt . . . / it's only the observance / of words I keep now to stay the soul," Tobin shows us the search for a way to encompass the world, turning Christian motifs toward new meanings.
Daniel Tobin is the author of Where the World Is Made, cowinner of the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize in Poetry. He has also been awarded the "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the Robert Penn Warren Award of the Cumberland Review, and the Robert Frost Fellowship of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. His poems have been published in Stand, Poetry, American Scholar, Paris Review, Poetry Island Review, Southern Review, and many other journals. He is chair of the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston.
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