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Join us on Thursday, January 25 at 7 PM as poet Daniel Tobin reads from his new collection, The Mansions. He will be joined by poet Patrick Donnelly.
From award-winning poet Daniel Tobin comes The Mansions, an epic trilogy of book-length poems which examines exemplary 20th-Century figures Georges Lemaître, Simone Weil, and Teilhard de Chardin, all at the crossroads of science, history, and religion. Capacious in their philosophical explorations, immaculate in their form, stirring in their alchemy of faith and empiricism, each complete section works both autonomously and as part of the whole, building a house that contains many mansions, simulating the dynamic enormity of creation itself — always already entire and yet unfinished, borderless, infinite. Immersed in a time when cataclysmic geopolitical events coincided with revolutionary scientific progress, The Mansions charts a Dantean journey as it confronts the exigencies and contingencies which define modernity: history, religion, our planet’s fate, and the purpose of humankind. A fractal symphony of voices, Tobin’s tripartite collection represents a staggering literary achievement — a lyric narrative that can hold the totality of the divine and of godlessness, that harmonizes time as change and as eternity, that sees “pendant grapes” as “embodied wine.” Its music is the harvest “cutting free the perfectly nurtured bruise-colored fruit, hour / by hour,” and its wisdom embraces the transience of all things as well as the transfiguration of the self, that everlasting impermanence: “‘I see the landscape as it is when I’m not there.’”
Daniel Tobin is the author of nine books of poems, Where the World Is Made, Double Life, The Narrows, Second Things, Belated Heavens, The Net, From Nothing, and Blood Labors, which the New York Times and Washington Independent Review of Books named one of the Best Poetry Books of the year. He is the author of the critical studies Awake in America, Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney, and On Serious Earth, as well as the editor of The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Light in Hand: Selected Early Poems of Lola Ridge, Poet’s Work, Poet’s Play: Essays on the Practice and the Arts (with Pimone Triplett), and To the Many: Collected Early Works of Lola Ridge. Among his awards are the “The Discovery/The Nation Award,” The Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, the Julia Ward Howe Prize, the Stephen J. Meringoff Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Emerson College in Boston.
Patrick Donnelly is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Little-Known Operas (Four Way Books, 2019) and the forthcoming Willow Hammer (Four Way Books, spring 2025). With his spouse Stephen D. Miller, he translates classical Japanese poetry and drama. His awards include a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program Award, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature, and a 2018 Amy Clampitt Residency Award. He is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place, Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH, now a center for poetry and the arts. More at patrickdonnellypoetry.com.
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