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Literature / Cultural Studies / Irish America


From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills
Notes on the New Irish
Eamonn Wall

A melting pot of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir

"A sparkling, engaging view of what it means to be an immigrant witness, to look at the United States through the eyes of a new population of Irish. This is an account of place and people, but also, primarily, an account of language. Wall goes to the heart of the issues of exile and estrangement."—Eavan Boland, author of The Lost Land and Object Lessons

Eamonn Wall arrived in the United States in the 1980s as part of a wave of young, educated immigrants who became known as the "New Irish." In this book he comments on his own experiences and those of his generation, who identify as much with contemporary ethnic and immigrant America as they do with the long-settled Irish American community.

Wall's starting point is the now-closed Sin-é Café in New York's East Village, which was a hangout in the early 1990s for expatriate Irish musicians, actors, and writers. He comments on the poetry, fiction, essays, and memoirs of both the New Irish and Americans of Irish heritage, locating them within a literary and historical context. But this is also a deeply personal book in which Wall wrestles with his own identity as an Irishman living in America, raising his children as Americans and learning to love the American landscape, from the streets of Manhattan to the western hills of Nebraska.

"This book has a wonderful anarchy to it—a sort of melting pot of fiction, nonfiction, criticism, and memoir. Wall has disguised himself as a literary river sweeping between Manhattan and the prairies, taking on all sorts of landscapes as he goes."—Colum McCann, author of This Side of Brightness

"There is no more perceptive interpreter of the experience of migration in our time than Eamonn Wall. His fiction, poetry, and essays set before us with intelligence and grace the complexity of Irish/American doubleness."—Charles Fanning, author of The Irish Voice in America

Eamonn Wall is the author of two books of poetry, Iron Mountain Road and Dyckman–200th Street, and has written for the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. A native of Enniscorthy in County Wexford, Ireland, he has lived in New York City and Milwaukee and is now associate professor of English at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. His work on this book was supported in part by a grant from the Irish American Cultural Institute.

Eamonn Wall has been chosen as the co-winner of the American Conference for Irish Studies' 2001 Michael Durkan Prize for Literary and Cultural Criticism, for his book From the Sin-e Cafe to the Black Hills.

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February 2000
154 pp.    6 x 9

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