Nebraska Center for Writers

What the Critics Say
About Eamonn Wall

THE CROSSES
DYCKMAN-200TH STREET
FROM THE SIN-É CAFÉ TO THE BLACK HILLS
IRON MOUNTAIN ROAD
REFUGE AT DESOTO BEND



The Crosses
Copyright © 2000
by Eamonn Wall
Salmon Publishing
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The Crosses is a striking metaphor which embraces many of the themes that Eamonn Wall explores in his third collection. He takes stock of what we lose and gain as we negotiate paths through an unstable world. Here is a work of mature affirmation which celebrates the deep bonds which bind us to land, water, and the streets of the present and past. With verve and wit, Wall deftly crosses and re-draws the boundaries of the contemporary Irish and American worlds. — from the publisher


Dyckman-200th Street
Copyright © 1993
by Eamonn Wall
Salmon Publishing
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Eamonn Wall is writing from the nerve centre of the universe in his poems from America. Even an early poem such as the enchanting "Song at Lake Michigan" written shortly after arrival in Milwaukee in 1982 bears this out: "But here I can sing myself / unbound by traditions of death." ... Ambling around his hometown, Wall reminds himself that he took the right step by leaving: "You feared you would never see this place again. Here it is. It is nothing," he writes dispassionately, adding later "I walk through this town square untempted by its landscape." Nevertheless, it is the Ireland of Wall's childhood and adolescence that is most recalled in the book, in mischievously elegiac poems such as "Flight" and "The Country Doctor." However, despite the celebratory strand, Wall does not shirk from the harsh realities that face immigrants in America. By no means could he be said to cosy up to the place:
At night we go home to break our bread.
Our doors are bolted to America.
Our dreams fastened to no promised land. ("Immigrants") — Paddy Kehoe, RTE Guide

Over the last decade or so, what has become known rather flamboyantly as the "Irish Renaissance" has brought forward a new generation of artists and writers in a variety of fields who have a no-apologies take on their origins, and whose work has brought a new image to Ireland internationally. ... Wall's urban bustle conveys the fast-paced ironies and charms of New York City, where he lived for many years while teaching there. But while the diversities of the American experience can be seen in [his] work, it is important that Ireland is ever presnt, in memory and in brilliant images. — Irish Echo

Eamonn Wall's masterpiece is a good product and it is aimed, not just at readers in this country, but at readers in Britain and the United States as well. ... Eamonn Wall has been described by Philip Casey as "Enniscorthy's own poet." Let the Enniscorthy people adopt his work and regard him as "the" town poet! Locals should purchase Eamonn Wall's fine book and read first hand his description of local people and events. In his work "My Book of Genesis" the prose is simply magic. "Let there be a red-bricked post office to tell the time, and a red-bricked nuthouse where the mad may play." ... Dyckman-200th Street is a brilliant collection of poems written by the genial Enniscorthy-man who holds the responsibility of Professor of English at Creighton University by day. — The Irish Echo

In these extraordinary poems the exile tradition is rejuvenated, given a sharp, current edge. This book marks a significant crosscurrent in contemporary Irish/American literature. — Jack Morgan, Irish Literary Supplement


From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills:
Notes on the New Irish
Copyright © 1999
by Eamonn Wall
U of Wisconsin P
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Throughout history, writings by those of Irish dscent frequently have revealed the meaningfulness of identity and landscape, and these two concerns are also of critical importance to Eamonn Wall. But what stands out about Wall's latest work, From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish, is the extent to which the author is willing to explore with (and without) personal ease the complexities of what it means to be Irish in a contemporary climate of international translocation. — Irish Literary Supplement


Iron Mountain Road
Copyright © 1997
by Eamonn Wall
Salmon Publishing
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Iron Mountain Road follows Dyckman-200th Street (Salmon, 1994), Eamonn Wall's widely praised first book. Here is a collection which chronicles the process of migration--from the bustle, high buildings, and close living of New York City to the empty wide open spaces, and often desolate but magnificent American prairie and high plains. This is an innovative book which describes aspects of the Irish immigrant experience which has been hitherto ignored. Wall explores and describes the physical and human landscapes he encounters, while remaining open to the ironies presented by the journey. The Platte River in Nebraska and the Black Hills of South Dakota are brought brilliantly to life by a consciousness formed in County Wexford and New York, and it is often to these starting points that Wall turns to for confirmation. Other important concerns are history, parenthood, and the sea.
Eamonn Wall is a leading poetic voice among the "New Irish" writers living in the United States who describes the emigrant experience with great honesty and by using innovative forms. Features of the Iron Mountain Road are the long lines and prose poems which are employed to great effect to describe the enormous space the poet encounters, and which also facilitate Wall's desire to write a poetry laden with the deep rhythms of ordinary life. Iron Mountain Road is a moving and brilliant collection which confirms Eamonn Wall as a daring and original poet and as spokesman for frequently marginalized, but never silent exiles. Wall gives eloquent voice to a lost generation — the exiles of the 1980s and 1990s. ... This is a brilliant, insightful second collection which confirms Eamonn Wall's stature as a daring and original poet, spokesman for a frequently marginalized, but never silent, constituency of exiles. — from the jacket

Eamonn Wall showed his promise in Dyckman-200th Street, his Irish version of the poet in New York. Now he delivers the goods in Iron Mountain Road, a journey from rural Ireland to New York City to the heartland of America. ... With this new collection of poetry Eamonn Wall is proving hismelf to be one of the best poets, Irish or American, writing in American — or for that matter, Ireland--today. Read him if you love the West, whether it be the coast of Ireland or the mythic land where cowboys and Indians roamed. This is one of the best books of poetry to be published in 1997. — i>Irish Echo, October 22-28, 1997

It's a book about dislocation, not exile. ... He has a cinematographer's eye, and it's not an American eye so much as a Wim Wenders' eye....He's managed to take in the mythology of the States, and it's blessedly free of nostalgia, the too easy trip back home. He's able to find the connection between the old world and the new. ... a good, muscular, adult book. Wall has found his stride. — "Poetry Now," RTÉ Radio

His poems are charged with a thoroughly contemporary and a profoundly literary awareness of what it means to be Irish, and a writer, in America. — Kathleen McCracken, Poetry Ireland Review

In his second book, Wall's wry imagination bears witness to his astonishing ability to absorb what William Carlos Williams called "the American grain" without losing the intonations of his own idiom. Such double vision, or double-speak, defines the situation of the emigrant writer, and of this group Wall is among the best. An Irish poet living in America, he is equally adept at evoking the teeming cityscape of New York, the vast spaces of the American prairie, and the lush countryside of his native Wexford. Louis Simpson observed that American poetry must have a stomach that can "digest rubber, coal, uranium, moons, poems." Wall's work has already digested Hart Crane's Bridge, Omaha, Mount Rushmore, Lake Michigan and a good deal of junk food. These new poems reveal him as a daring and original poet with an interest in exploring how the surfaces of the present open windows into history. — The Boston Review


Refuge at Desoto Bend
Copyright © 2004
by Eamonn Wall
Salmon Publishing
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One of the many striking themes in this collection, and in much of Eamonn Wall's acclaimed work, is migration and the search for material and emotional shelter and refuge in unfamiliar locations. In "The Wexford Container Tragedy," both refugees and locals grieve and seek to come to terms with a new world born out of tragedy. Eamonn Wall, himself an emigrant, recasts the Irish experience of emigration in the light of a new phenomenon: emigration to Ireland. — from the publisher


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