This collection of essays explores the poetics and politics of US-American poetry’s diverse and distinct investments in the imaginary space of ‘the Orient’. Reading American poets – from Emily Dickinson to Frank Bidart, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Kimiko Hahn – the contributions show how tropes of the Orient have fabricated screens onto which we project matters by no means foreign, but very close to home. As we accompany American poets on their journeys East, we are bound to arrive in – culturally specific – territories of the West. Traversing cultural crossroads and rediscovering places as ‘exotic’ as Banyan ashrams and Bostonian living rooms, these expeditions shed new light on crucial moments of American literary and cultural history. And, on the way, they reassess what Edward Said, thirty years ago, conceived of as Orientalism, and how far this concept has travelled in the meantime.