The Net front cover

paper • 100 pages • 15.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-935536-40-6

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The Net

Daniel Tobin

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.


“Fly and Cricket,” from The Net:

Its ear attunes homage to those wings
that would entice a consort's tailored song.

Where carapace affects a telephone
it listens beyond longing's least unease

to hear inside a trigger-scale of notes
like a rapper's staccato hail of words--

the key that calls the quiet gamut out
writhing, to burrow in the singer's gut.

Down there what governs and endures is this:
a screeching in the music of the spheres

where one of all that symphony will feed
on living meat until the husk exhumes.

So out pulses shroud-faced Eurydice
with Orpheus's body for its womb.

About the Author

  • "Daniel Tobin's poems are resolute, humble, lyric, unflinching, and incredibly--painfully--good. The poems in The Net bear the responsibilities of conscious witness. And witness is the exact word. Daniel Tobin doesn't write from the point of view of the narcissistic, monocular I, he writes simply from The Eye. The poems have vision enough to dilate even the rarest of details and his range of perception extends beyond the periphery; he sees around corners. These poems are visually acute, near brutal in their beauty (hear me--I've read 'The Turnpike' a dozen times now; it haunts me like a goddamn ghost and I don't see that changing anytime soon). The whole book's a master class in craft." - Jill Alexander Essbaum
  • "These are very beautiful poems, and The Net is a very beautiful book--surpassingly so. Some poems are movingly personal, yet are always also about the experience we share as human beings; how we recognize ourselves in how we look at things, in what we read and have read, and in the evidence of our dismaying human lives. In that very way Tobin's marvelous translation of Trakl's 'All Souls' memorializes human experience. Tobin also displays an extraordinary capacity for using his resources as a poet through his command of diction and idiom, and through his versification--his ability to produce fluent and expressive metrical lines in sequences (often rhyming in very original, surprising ways) which construct, for each poem, an identifying and powerfully persuasive music, and in his ability to convey also in free-verse the music of impressive thought and feeling. The mastery evident in his uses of these resources is enviable." - David Ferry
  • "This new collection by Daniel Tobin achieves a generous balance between suggestive unity and thematic laissez-faire. He uses the ‘net’ in a very wide cast or broad sense indeed, almost like glossers of Dante, at the four levels. The net as the thing itself, literally a fisher’s net. In its contemporary historical sense as the Internet. In its metaphorical sense as language, the elusive knotted mesh of our convictions, and of our delusions like Othello’s entanglement in Iago’s net of lies. And anagogically, cosmically—intimately?—we are bound in the net of our being, by every limit we knock against and at which we are refused or constricted, in Ea the god of the first water’s net." Read the full review.

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