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1. Human Chain: Poems
2. Opened Ground: Selected Poems,
3. Field Work: Poems
4. Poems, 1965-1975: Death of a Naturalist
5. The Spirit Level: Poems
6. Seamus Heaney
7. Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition
8. Seeing Things
9. District and Circle: Poems
10. The Burial at Thebes: A Version
11. The Cambridge Companion to Seamus
12. The Redress of Poetry
13. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
14. The Faber Yeats: Poems Selected
15. Stepping Stones: Interviews with
16. The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of
17. North (Faber Library)
18. Death of a Naturalist (Faber Pocket
19. New and Selected Poems
20. Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton

1. Human Chain: Poems
by Seamus Heaney
Hardcover: 96 Pages (2010-09-14)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$14.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374173516
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Seamus Heaney’s new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present—the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered. Human Chain also broaches larger questions of transmission, of lifelines to the inherited past. There are newly minted versions of anonymous early Irish lyrics, poems that stand at the crossroads of oral and written, and other “hermit songs” that weigh equally in their balance the craft of scribe and the poet’s early calling as scholar. A remarkable sequence entitled “Route 101” plots the descent into the underworld in the Aeneid against single moments in the arc of a life, from a 1950s childhood to the birth of a first grandchild. Other poems display a Virgilian pietas for the dead—friends, neighbors, family—that is yet wholly and movingly vernacular.

Human Chain also includes a poetic “herbal” adapted from the Breton poet Guillevic—lyrics as delicate as ferns, which puzzle briefly over the world of things and landscapes that exclude human speech, while affirming the interconnectedness of phenomena, as of a self-sufficiency in which we too are included

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars AS Clear as the waters of his first published in 1966, and as deep; please read
Even now at this latter time may we discover new poetry worthy of reading, and ever from Seamus Heaney.

Clear and true and deep and multifaceted, fresh each time we read, and remember.

I replay his recorded readings often, his tender and true reading of Walter Raleigh's poem to his son, of so much beauty he read for all time recorded. Here through this rich amazon I acquired his readings of his own poetry and that of others, and hear him gratefully, tearfully, joyfully read his favorites to me, around the firelight.

Here may we also find the insightful commentaries by countless scholars of various schools, including the great and lucid Helen Vendler inSeamus Heaney, to whom he here dedicates a poem, the series Hermit Songs, which begins to conclude, in part ix: "A great one has put faith in 'meaning'/That runs through space like a word/Screaming and protesting, another in/'Poet's imaginings//And memories of love':/Mine for now I put/in steady-handedness maintained/In books against its vanishing./ ( . . .)

Here may we discover the full library of his prose and poetical writings, and interviews, such as the thick tome Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney. This amazon generously offers us so much of the work of this great contemporary poet, and we happily receive this abundant harvest, including his several translations of ancient lore, such as Beowulf: A New Verse Translation {Unabridged} {Audio} {Cd} and The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone and The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' Philoctetes.

Now as grandfather, Heaney writes still, a remarkably long and inspiring career for a poet, a stable poet, a family poet, who calls for us to read, to listen, in peace, in compassion, in peace.

Remember the Tollund Man, the great rib cage of the Irish elk, the vengeful croaking frogs who frightened that young naturalist, and read this now, with him, in his great old age.

So many of our artists of his time and age we lost far too soon. Heaney we have ever with us, and we must come to read.

As part of this verily Human Chain.

"Had I not been awake I would have missed it"
and so would we . . .

Remember with this grandfather the memories of his rural youth, the same sights and smells and sounds and images he related then, as he does now, of a coal dust fire banked . . .

Here we find much drawn from ancient Irish lore (including Sweeney revisited), legend and song, as well as various verse from Europe, ancient (the Aeneid and Charon's barge) and middle and new, including Giovannni Pascoli's L'Aquilone, in a last poem entitled a Kite for Aibhin, ending "The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall."

and as with all grandfathers we find here much mourning for his dead, within this great celebration of life, scaffolded with the ever close presence of the fabulous past of legend and of myth.

a rich feast as nourishing as all from this mighty pen and throat.

hear him once more, please.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful
Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney delights audiences with his new book //Human Chain//. Heaney sticks to form and meter, bringing to life the Irish scenery so eloquently described in several poems, even moving readers to read aloud to others. Some who may be new to Heaney's work will certainly want to read his earlier writing upon finishing this collection, while those well acquainted with Heaney's work will not be disappointed.

Many of the poems marry the landscape with the surreal such as "A Herbal." Poems such as "'Had I Not Been Awake,'" the first poem in the collection, work to help wake the reader and open their spirit to what each poem will bring. "Human Chain" takes our current world events and chows the chain we all share day to day, and "Route 101" shows a modern decline to Charon in an adaptation of //Aeneid VI//. These poems, and others, show that Heaney is still a master of his craft. This collection is a must need for any personal library, and will be read throughout the years.

Reviewed by Robyn Oxborrow ... Read more

2. Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996
by Seamus Heaney
Paperback: 464 Pages (1999-10-25)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374526788
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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As selected by the author, Opened Ground includes the essential work from Heaney's twelve previous books of poetry, as well as new sequences drawn from two of his landmark translations, The Cure at Troy and Sweeney Astray, and several previously uncollected poems. Heaney's voice is like no other--"by turns mythological and journalistic, rural and sophisticated, reminiscent and impatient, stern and yielding, curt and expansive" (Helen Vendler, The New Yorker)--and this is a one-volume testament to the musicality and precision of that voice. The book closes with Heaney's Nobel Lecture: "Crediting Poetry."
Amazon.com Review
For Seamus Heaney, "opened ground" is a necessity--a way of getting to theroot of things. The book bearing that name spans three decades, beginningwith "Digging," his exhilarating portrait of the artist as a youngrevolutionary. "Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests; snugas a gun," Heaney boasts (although by the end of the poem, his weapon hasmetamorphosed into something closer to the spade his grandfather and fatheronce relied upon). The last entry, the sonnet "Postscript," appears some 400pages later, which makes Opened Ground a capacious selection ofhis work. But at this point Heaney requires the largest of hold-alls. Thereare beautiful, pastoral lyrics here, sequences such as "Glanmore Sonnets"and "Clearances," and a multitude of love poems, not solely to his wife butto his parents and children. And in Heaney's hands, small domestic momentsand objects--a scrabble board, a swing, a kite, a bed sawn in half to getit downstairs--invariably become both reality and soaring myth.

At the same time, his Ireland is the site of "neighborly murders," and thepast and larger world he confronts is one threatened by history and brutalsectarianism. Heaney has declared, "Fear is the emotion that the musethrives on. That's always there"--and terror is pervasive in his "land ofpassword, handgrip, wink and nod, / Of open minds as open as a trap." Manyof his poems that explore the Troubles reflect his own considerable concernthat he has long "confused evasion and artistic tact." Others might betermed self-reflexive, since Heaney uses them to unearth his own role."Kinship" features a simple, brilliant (not to mention canine!) simile:

I step through origins
like a dog turning
its memories of wilderness
on the kitchen mat.
In a later poem, "From the Frontier of Writing," he compares the strugglefor inspiration to being stopped at a roadblock: "And everything is pureinterrogation / until a rifle motions you and you move / with guardedunconcerned acceleration." Heaney's gift is dazzling, and would be almostunbearable were it not matched by vigilance, self-doubt, and regret--andhis longing for the day in which "justice can rise up / And hope andhistory rhyme." --Kerry Fried ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Prickles the Spine
Nabokov said the pleasures of reading literature can be sensed in the raising of the hairs on the spine, and there are spine tingling thrills aplenty in this ample collection of Heaney's poems.

Within are his early nature poems evoking the earthy rural Irish country 'Digging', 'Death of a Naturalist', through to his political poems, his saga poems, his love poems, his epic translations.

The language swoops effortlessly from the journalistic to the mythological. Just a taste here:

'To every cocked ear, expert in its greed/his battered signature subscribes 'No Pope'./The goatskin's sometimes plastered with his blood./The air is pounding like a stethoscope. (Heaney here drawing on his mastery of language in sectarian fashion to portray the Orange marhcers as hideous, pulsing creatures in 'Orange Drums, Tyrone, 1966)

And the nature side 'The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap/Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge.' (From 'Digging', Heaney's pean to the pen over the shovel)

And the Miltonic epic style: 'I returned to a long strand/the hammered curve of a bay,/and found only the secular/powers of the Atlantic thundering.

Truly Heaney has a gift for the taste, texture, heft and sound of words.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dazzling and intense
Dazzling and intense works. Good overview of his output. Although this is not the Collected Poetry of Heaney it does contain almost all his best poems up to 1996, as well as his Nobel Prize acceptance lecture (a gem) and an excerpt from his play Cure a Troy. Heaney is a very special poet, similar in my mind to Yeats and Dylan Thomas, with a Zen Buddhist twist - an underground clearly visible through the influences of the Chinese poet Han Shan "Cold Mountain".For the poems which have exerted an influence on Heaney see: Cold Mountain: Poetry of Han-Shan: A Complete Annotated Translation of Cold Mountain (SUNY Series in Buddhist Studies) Open Ground is an essential contemporary poetry volume. Like Zen poetry Heaney is often very simple, linear, and descriptive on the surface yet with lots of intertwining symbolism, language play and richness working to create a poetic reality true to external reality yet ripping open to a more profound reality in his attempt to "stabilize truth" as Ben Johnson has said. He is also often times very oblique in his simplicity - a challenge to any poetic mind.He is a modern classic. The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kind of interesting...
I needed the book for a class...I went in to reading it like it was going to be garbage...But it actually was a little bit interesting...

5-0 out of 5 stars He who makes English get up and dance...
If you have not read Seamus Heaney, then you are not in touch with what the English language is in its heart. Heaney's simple, unstrained word usage, coupled with a deep knowledge of the rich Anglo-Saxon which is our cornerstone, evokes a strength which comes not so much from what we see and know as from something which is rooted deeply in our psyches as Anglo-Europeans (or at least those living in and a part of such cultures). Heaney also brings to light the beauty of the ordinary, primarily by weighting it with the yoke of history and the various passions of his fellow man.

I bought this collection because I enjoyed others of his works (especially The Spirit Level and Seeing Things), which I uncovered at the library, too much to go long without his poetry. And this collection turns out to have all of my favorites from those volumes, as well as the best and most skilled of the poems of his earlier volumes. Do I recommend it? I wouldn't have prominently displayed the fact that I was reading it in numerous public places if I didn't, now would I?

5-0 out of 5 stars Seamus Heaney's Poems
After currently studying the quality of Seamus Heaney's poems, i am quite sure that this book will not dissapoint you.The quality of Heaney's poems are somewhat outstanding, they are a shock, as you dont normally read poems of this sort, and once you read one, you have to read the others.One of my personal favourites is Mid-Term Break.

Written by Kirk Aged 14 ... Read more

3. Field Work: Poems
by Seamus Heaney
Paperback: 80 Pages (2009-03-31)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$5.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374531390
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Field Work is the record of four years during which Seamus Heaney left the violence of Belfast to settle in a country cottage with his family in Glanmore, County Wicklow. Heeding “an early warning system to get back inside my own head,” Heaney wrote poems with a new strength and maturity, moving from the political concerns of his landmark volume North to a more personal, contemplative approach to the world and to his own writing. In Field Work he “brings a meditative music to bear upon fundamental themes of person and place, the mutuality of ourselves and the world” (Denis Donoghue, The New York Times Book Review).

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stays with you long after...
This was my first exposure to Seamus Heaney and his work (other than seeing the portly fellow with his unkempt white hair walking purposefully around campus here in Cambridge.)It is still my favorite collection of his work.Like all previous reviewers, I will not critique any particular poem, but only give the volume what can be one of my highest forms of praise: The poems have such a resonance that they have stayed with me long after putting the book down.That is a rare feat, in any artistic genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars The End of Art is Peace
"Old ploughsocks gorge the subsoil of each sense / And I am quickened with a redolence / Of the fundamental dark unblown rose." In the face of such mastery, we cannot comment or explicate, for fear of impertinence; we can only quote, and hope that something of the maker's joy communicates itself.

This was the third book of poetry that this reviewer purchased as a youth, the first two being Eliot's Four Quartets and Rimbaud's Illuminations. This book remains a favourite of ours, fifteen years after its purchase.

The Glanmore Sonnets occupy a central position in this slender but rich volume, as is fitting; it is perhaps Heaney's masterwork. The Elegy to Robert Lowell, the "welder of English" who composed "heart-hammering blank sonnets of love for Harriet and Lizzie" is also noteworthy.

There is much about the sectarian warfare of the troubled six counties of Northern Ireland, but like Dante (who appears via epigraph and translation in this book) Heane!y can transfigure the sins of his land into glorious language that is an exemplar of poetry's redemptive potentiality. "I think our very form is bound to change ... Unless forgiveness finds its nerve and voice."

There is much here about love, nuptial, natural, sexual. At the end of "The Guttural Muse," there is a couplet of exclusion from the joyful earthiness that the poet observes: "I felt like some old pike all badged with sores / Wanting to swim in touch with soft-mouthed life."

There is warfare and loss, violence and bliss, the joys of the flesh and the crucifixion of a country. But after reading the poems in FIELD WORK, the reader will doubtless share in Seamus Heaney's faith that "the end of art is peace."

5-0 out of 5 stars Digging
With "Field Work" the metaphor of "digging" with which Seamus Heaney began his first volume of poetry ("Death of a Naturalist") has become a succinct and overarching symbol of hisentire literary endeavour. In that poem "digging" comes toconnote the agricultural roots of his childhood (and of the Irish people)but also the search for word-fodder that his poetry enacts. "FieldWork" continues to explore these concerns in a powerful collection ofpoems. Here the deeply personal ("Glanmore Sonnets"), primarlypoetic ("Elegy") and cautiously political ("Triptych","The Toome Road") sit comfortably alongside one another. WhileHeaney (as the most famous voice in contemporary Irish literature) has beenrepeatedly criticised for his silence on the Ulster situation, this volumeshows that (as in "North") he is able to deal with its complexissues without taking sides. Always his concern is for the impartial victim(the position he himself assumes, that of the "unmolested orchid"["Triptych 1"]) and the place he or she occupies among thecombatants. "Casualty" describes a friendly but laconic pubdrinker (apolitical and an acquaintance of Heaney's) who was killed by theBritish for defying curfew. "Triptych 1" includes the descriptionof "Two young men with rifles on the hill" - we do not know ifthey are Unionists or I.R.A., they are two sides of the same coin. Heaney'scontinual "digging" allows him to move beneath the emotivesurface of events and to unearth their common history, culture, landscape,experience. In "Field Work" the very poetry with which Heaneydraws these moments is itself a tool to pare bloody and partisan politicsback to its single seed, the common root of the Irish field and furrow.

5-0 out of 5 stars Field Work---Heaney not is Yeats successor, but conqueror
Seamus Heaney, in "Field Work" makes accessible what is best about poetry and, especially, modern Irish poetry.Heaney's impact on modern poetry will certainly extend on into the centuries as he lays down his words in beautiful rythmic language, a language forgotten by many contemporaries, but coming back with many new poets.Heaney's protrait of Irish life, the "troubles", and just his love of people and the land makes this a must read not only for those who love good poetry, but wish to understand the beauty, people, politics, and history of a great people to be free.Heaney writes no bad poems, remains accessible to the occasional reader, and offers more than enough solid food for the critic and student of poetics to keep all happy for long after the read. ... Read more

4. Poems, 1965-1975: Death of a Naturalist / Door Into the Dark / Wintering Out / North
by Seamus Heaney
 Paperback: 228 Pages (1988-10-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374516529
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This volume gathers nearly all of the poems from Heaney's first four collections: Death of a Naturalist (1966), Door into the Dark (1969), Wintering Out (1972), and North (1975).
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Just a good read. As you would expect from Seamus Heaney. You can carry this book but Heaney can carry you.I strongly suggest this book to anyone interested in Irish poets/writers. I suggest this book for anyone interested in BOOKS!His imagery is deeper than most poets'. In the States _in school- we read Robert Frost and all that bunk. But Heaney's work is something completely different and even a bit unexpected at times. I love it.What else can I say?

5-0 out of 5 stars Dark and wet but good
Images of water and earth. often combined as mud or bogs, dominate these poems. Almost every one contains the words "dark" or "black." Many of them are memories of agricultural operations that sound so primitive (ploughing with horses, churning by hand) that I was not sure if they were genuine. (But should that make a difference? What if we learned that Seamus Heaney was born and raised in Manhattan? ). They are written in the colloquial style of the British "Movement" Some of them contain subtle rhymes and rhythms but some, such at the relatively cheerful "Churning Day" could just as well, or even better, be printed as chunks of prose. There is very little politics but it is evident that he writes as a Northern Itish Catholic.
It's the only book-length Heany I've read so I don't know how representative the selection is. It contains poems from "Death of a Naturalist," "Door Into the Dark." "Wintering Out," "A Northern Hoard," "North" and "Singing School." ... Read more

5. The Spirit Level: Poems
by Seamus Heaney
Paperback: 96 Pages (1997-04-10)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374525110
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Spirit Level was the first book of poems Heaney published after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. Reviewing this book in The New York Times Book Review, Richard Tillinghast noted that Heaney "has been and is here for good . . . [His poems] will last. Anyone who reads poetry has reason to rejoice at living in the age when Seamus Heaney is writing."
Amazon.com Review
The title of Seamus Heaney's first collection of poetry sincewinning the Nobel Prize in 1995 is the term used in Ireland for acarpenter's level, an earthy physical allusion to matters of spiritthat is quintessential Heaney. And indeed this volume dealsmasterfully with the finding of a level balancing point in ethical,moral, and spiritual affairs. Heaney has famously likened his craft tothe farming activities of his childhood, comparing his pen to hisfather's spade; here he extends that analogy, comparing the lines of apoem to furrows being plowed in the earth, and "the poem asploughshare that turns time/ Up and over." Heaney's furrows arestraight and clean, his loamy lines abundantly fertile. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Meh.
Seamus Heaney, The Spirit Level (FSG, 1996)

Seamus Heaney has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Which is quite an achievement, and makes it a very daunting task to review one of his books. Perhaps more daunting for me (and those like me) than most; I'm a published poet myself, though the times when my poems have appeared anywhere Heaney's might crop up are very few and far between. It's probably easier for someone who hasn't been that route to read The Spirit Level with a critical eye-- someone who hasn't tried to think in poetry, to speak it, to write it, and then to send it out into the world on its merry way, to get published one percent of the time and rejected the other ninety-nine percent. It's a tough business we're in. Well, were in, in my case, as my last piece published in a printed journal was a decade or so ago. Who am I to do anything that smells like a critique on a book written by a Nobel prizewinner?

Ah, thank the gods there is hubris, for without it, life would be ever so boring.

Now, having read all that, I'm relatively sure you can guess that what follows is not going to be the sycophantic ravings of a fanboy. It's not going to be a trashing, but for the work of a Nobel Prize-winning poet, I found it both unmoving and unchallenging; perhaps "safe" might be the best word to describe it.

Heaney's work is the epitome of what gets called "academic" poetry, with that derisive sneer. It's thick to the point of impenetrability, either because it's so intensely personal that only those close to the poet or have studied his work obsessively will understand the symbolism or because Heaney is so unconcerned with giving the reader anything into which to sink his teeth that he's lost sight of the fact that there's an audience reading this stuff.

That said, there is, of course, a reason that Heaney won the Nobel Prize. He knows how to put syllables together, and if you're willing to overlook the fact that you'll have to put in hours of analysis per poem in order to get the merest shred of meaning out of it, at least a decent amount of what's here sounds good. ** ½

4-0 out of 5 stars The natural world observed and balanced
I wish I could say I liked or understood these poems more than I do. Seamus Heaney is a Nobel- Prize winning, and most highly regarded poet. This volume is the first which appeared after he received the Nobel Prize. The 'spirit level' is a reference to a carpenter's tool used to level things off. The collection is supposedly built in one sense around the idea of 'balance', material andspiritual balance.
The first thing that struck me about the poetry is the richness of its vocabulary, the frequency of neologism.Heaney was a student of Anglo- Saxon , and his translation of 'Beowulf' is considered one of the best. Clearly he has a mastery of the language and its rhythms . And he has a strong sense too of the observed natural world. A lot of his lines are lines of precise seeing .
"And some time make the time to drive out west
Into Country Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate- grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong- looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater."

Again this is powerful and precise observation, and clear strong language.
Nonetheless in reading the poems I did not get from them what I do get from the poetry of his great countryman , Yeats. Yeats is filled with memorable lines and a music which sings, rings and lingers in the mind.
Heaney is intellectually complex and scholarly. Aside from my difficulty in just understanding the plain sense , the music , as I read the poems aloud somehow escapes me.
Yet I am very well aware that I am probably talking more about my own limitations , rather than Heaney's.

2-0 out of 5 stars Callie's review for The Spirit Level
Well, with the exception of a few quality lines like those in Cassandra, Whitby-sur-Moyola, and At Banagher, I'd have to say that the Spirit Level was (sad to say), for the most part, a waste of my time. But, instead of bashing it totally, I'll point out a few significant lines that I enjoyed and kept me from giving it one star.
From Cassandra:
"No such thing as innocent bystanding... no such thing as innocent."
From Whitby-sur-Moyola:
"...Unabsorbed in what he had to do/ But doing it perfectly, and watching you."
From At Banagher:
"Does he ever question what it all amounts to/ Or ever will? Or care where he lays his head?"
While I usually enjoy poetry, I had a VERY hard time getting into this book. It seems to me that a modern Irishman would have a few more quality poems, but maybe they are quality poems, but not being a modern Irishman, I can't understand them. But, I guess if he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, I'm probably the one who's mistaken. Perhaps I'm a little too surface to understand the intellectual depth of his poetry.

4-0 out of 5 stars A rare work from one of this generation's greatest
It is very easy to automatically compare Seamus Heaney with WB Yeats: they are both Irish, they both write about Irish legend and the Irish landscpae, yet the similaritiues stop there. In the first publications of poems from Heaney since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature he deals with subjects which strike a chord of sincerity for his reader, as was the case in many of his earlier poems, but this latest work is morestylistically controlled. This does not mean that he stays within a more limited framework, on the contrary, you feel that this collection is a fist hand demonstration of the growth of Heaney as a poet. He tackles the highly complex and political theme of the Ireland Troubles brilliantly in 'Mycenae Lookout', but then returns to the evocatively simple style that we find in 'St Kevin and the Blackbird'.The whle collection is so efforlessly skillful that you wonder why it took him so long to complete it. It is only after the second or third reading that the deeper complexities are absorbed. It is here that the reader may find some of the weaknesses of the collection. Heaney, although a master of his style, his poetry is not quite as intricate as, say TS Eliot, nor is it as impassioned or spontaneous as Beaudelaire (not that I am Heaney specifically to these poets alone, they too have their many weaknesses where Heaney excels). Despite this, Heaney is truly one of the best contemporary poets, and I personally feel he has many great works still to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heaney- master of his particular craft
Seamus Heaney has never shied away from the fact that poetry is craft as much as art- a duality neatly exemplified by the title of his latestcollection.For Heaney, poetry itself is the spirit level, the tool with which balance is found, whether that balance be between his hatred of the troubles dividing Ireland and his own ambivalence about his role in them, or between the pleasures of reminiscence and the uncomfortable responsibilities of adulthood that transform reminiscence into idyll.

The sensuality of Heaney's poetry is unavoidable and joyous, from the auditory fantasy of "The Rain Stick" through the ludicrous picture painted in "Keeping Going" to the gentle admonition of "Postscript" to open ourselves to the wonderful in the everyday. His portraiture is always accurately scaled- the minimalist charcoal sketch of "Sandymount Strand" is as appropriate to its subject as the Norman Rockwell painting that is "A Sofa In The Forties". That Heaney is a master of both is no surprise- but it's always a pleasure. ... Read more

6. Seamus Heaney
by Helen Vendler
Paperback: 208 Pages (2000-03-04)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674002059
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Poet and critic are well met, as one of our best writers on poetry takes up one of the world's great poets.Whereas other books on the Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney have dwelt chiefly on the biographical, geographicl, and political aspects of his writing, this book looks squarely and deeply at Heaney's poetry as art. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

I can make no sense at all of the other review of this excellent product, which gives it few stars, anonymously.

This under two hundred page study by one of our best students and teachers of poetry today, Helen Vendler opens immediately even my hardened heart and thick mind to every aspect of Mr. Heaney's art, up to the date of its pblication ten years ago. Unfortunately it also quickly and uncontrollably opened up my bank account to the many Heaney treasures hidden on the broad deep amazon, inclduing his collection of prose works and criticism entitled Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001 which includes some pieces of other published lectures and essays on the art and science of crafting poetry. I also quickly acquired The Government of the Tongue: Selected Prose, 1978-1987 and The Redress of Poetry, and hope to find Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture, his 1995 speech upon receiving the Nobel prize. Also through my shopping cart passed a pre-order of his interviews now being released entitled Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney in honor of an earlier collection of his poetry and his vision of his poems acting as stepping stones along a crossing towards a truth. Under audiobooks I was able to locate here his Station Island, read by Seamus Heaney but put it in a wishlist, as well as Stepping Stones (Audio, Faber), and The Spirit Level. I would love to learn more of the inviting The Poet and the Piper as my eyes grow dim now with age. It sounds wonderful.

Reading Vendler on Heaney therefore, this opening of this slender volume, opened to me not the rush of evil from a Pandora's Box but a hidden, buried treasure chest full of bright and brilliant jewels, whose great and pricesless value Vendler makes clear to us, even to me. Vendler is the best equipped for this task, having written among other things the essential The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets and the great Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form along with two other studies of this great Irish poet who so influenced and informed Heaney himself.

Vendler is also well known for her several other works, including Coming of Age as a Poet: Milton, Keats, Eliot, Plath and her long studies of Wallace Stevens and so many other great poets. Her academic credentials are impeccable, which is why the other review here reads so oddly. She is also familiar from her regular poetry reviews in many major literary magazines, inclduing the New York Times books supplement, the New York Review of Books, etc., etc. I am grateful to her, deeply for opening Shakespeare's sonnets to me, and Yeats, a formidable poet to read. She makes everything gently at home, while opening all the profundity and art of their works.

And so here as well. You will no better overview and no more comprehensive examination of the often difficult (to the casual reader, see the reviews elsewhere) Heaney. My only request is the impossible, that it be updated to include his great work of the past ten years including the unmatchable translation of Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition) and his own very dry reading of his work in Beowulf: A New Translation [Audiobook].

I cannot in any justice draw from these rich waters of Vendler's study without doing it damage. Read it please whole cloth, and resist coyly the irresistable rush to acquire all that you can of Seamus Heaney, this great Catholic and Irish author. Nevertheless, we read on page 4: "The purpose of this book is to explain, as much to myself as to others, the power of his extraordinary poetry." On tis same page Professor Vendler goes on to apologize: "I cannot - for reasons of space - treat influence here, but Heaney is among the most learned of contemporary poetes, and has brought together influences not often found conjoined in creating his own unmistable style." Unfortunately one ardently wishes all space had been provided Professor Vendler for that greater study written in her clear and accessible yet comprehensive style.

Mentioning how well received his woprk has been, Vendler writes: "I want here chiefly to show by what imaginative, structural and stylistic means Heaney raises his subjects to a plane that compels such worldwide admiration (p.6)." The good professor proceeds therefore to guide us through the artist's atelier, showing us his powerful tools and their use, deeply all within these too brief pages.

Perhaps this how-he-does-it book will not turn you as well into another Seamus Heaney, but it should provide you the tools to explore your own subjects, feelings, forms and lyrical lexicon, to build your own steppingstones upon our lonesome voyage, and to advance. Vendler quotes Heaney's reflection upon how to do poetry in part thus:

"Technique, as I would define it, involves not only a poet's way with words, his management of metre, rhythm and verbal texture; it involves also a definition of his stance towards life . . . (p. 8)."

We find thus nearly a theological and hermeneutical approach to the reading and writing of poetry: "Each successful poem (writes Vendler on page seven) presents itself as a unique experience. The experiment of one can never be repeated in another; each, as Keats said in an 1818 letter to his publisher John Taylor, a 'a regular stepping of the Imagination toward a Truth.' Keat's use of the indfeinite article - 'a Truth' - indicates the provisional nature of all lyric compositions. Each poem says, 'Viewed form this angle, at this moment, in this year, with this focus, the subject appears to me in this light, and my responses to it spring from this set of feelings.' Since no lyric can be equal to the whole complexity of private and public life at any given moment, lyrics are not to be read as position papers."

The same must be said of any of our Theological Truths and their human expression, which is why we find in ancient Ireland the poet considered a holy man of deep widom and great learning.

Please use this humble book as a stepping stone towards the truth of this great, wise and learned Irishman, Seamus Heaney. Just hang on to your pocketbook! In any case the investment in his work as in Vendler's is very well rewarded indeed and in Truth.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fumblin in Dublin
In my humble opinion, this is a pretty dull book of criticism.Vendler's clear personal affection for Heaney--revealed by her familiar biographical detail and history teaching alongside the poet at Harvard--doesn't so much bias her critical approach as much as limit the reach of her inquiry.

She's made up her mind so neatly, boxed her topoi up so tightly, that these essays feel more like a hermetic prescription than a platform from which to launch interesting criticism and discourse.One gets the feeling that a critic with more distance from her subject might produce fresher, more engaging criticism.

Heaney's stunning work and Vendler's accomplished scholarship have both seen better settings. ... Read more

7. Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-11-17)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$14.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393330109
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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More than one hundred glorious images,many ofobjects dating fromthe time of the story,enhance Seamus Heaney's masterful best-sellingtranslation.Composed toward the end of the first millennium,Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from theseemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. Drawn to its immenseemotional credibility, Seamus Heaney gives thegreat epic convincing reality for the reader.

But how to visualize the poet'sstory has always been a challenge for modern-day readers. In Beowulf: An IllustratedEdition, John D. Niles, a scholar of oldEnglish, brings Heaney's remarkable,best-selling translation to life. More than onehundred full-page illustrations—Viking warships, chain mail, lyres, spearheads, even areconstruction of the Great Hall—make visibleBeowulf's world and the elemental themes of his story: death, divine power, horror, heroism,disgrace, devotion, and fame. Now thismysterious world is transformed into one thatonly becomes more amazing after viewing itselegant goblets, dragon images, finely craftedgold jewelry, and the Danish landscape of itsorigins. 80 color and 41 black-and-white illustrations ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars For readers and museum enthusiasts
This version of Beowulf has a great deal to offer to the reader in terms of its sound, content, and visuals. I started by reading the section of the introduction entitled "The Poem." It gives the historical background of the Beowulf manuscript, and more importantly it helps the reader know what to look for in the structure of the text. For example, I looked for the "three archetypal sites of fear" described by Heaney: the "barricaded night-house," the "infestedunderwater current," and the "reptile-haunted rocks of a wilderness" when I read the poetry about Beowulf's heroic deeds fighting Grendel, Grendel's Mother, and the dragon. In the next section "About This Translation," Heaney describes his patterns for the alliteration that give the poem its distinctive sound.

I am a museum lover, so I enjoyed the pictures of swords and the wonderful artifacts found at the burial sites and in the bogs. I found myself showing some of them to others. My dentist admired the picture of a metal boar meant to illustrate decorations on war gear. I also found myself showing off some of the pictures of gold pendants and necklaces to various people to explain how a gold hoard was an important sign of civilization and prosperity in the culture of the Danes and the Geats. At the end of the book, in an "Afterword," Professor Niles writes about visualizing the narrative and explains his rational for choosing the various types of illustrations. For example, the outdoor photos that illustrate concepts such as "night-shapes" at sunset are meant to establish a scene in the poem or to create an analogue to it according to Niles. When I came upon an instance of two textual pages together without an illustration or a photo, I missed seeing one there. To me that proves that the visuals did illuminate the text.

So, I thought that everything was well done, and it is refreshing to see a publisher support such an artistic effort. It must have taken a big budget and a lot of effort to put this book together.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading My Father's Favorite Saga
This was my Father's favorite book.I had read it once years ago and thought I would probably never read it again.But, it became a need due to some period research.I chose this edition because of the included pictures, which would also aid in my research.I am very pleased with the readability and flow of this translation.The pictorial offerings were relevant and well executed.I enjoyed my time reading this and am glad to own it.

5-0 out of 5 stars illustrate Beowulf review
Love it to death! I adore Seamus Heaney's translation, and this book contains gorgeous photographs of artifacts possibly that relate to Beowulf

5-0 out of 5 stars Old is Still New
A myth written in the 2nd or 7th century reflects how human behavior never changes. The surface is different or the wallpaper of experiences changes, visually, the human psychic is the same. Welcome to Forever Now

5-0 out of 5 stars As far as I can tell-
Bought this for a gift; after cursory flip-through, seems fantastic.Prose looks clean and tight, and visuals I did look at were phenomenal- might add to even this narrative, which was certainly a classic even before this re-working.Seems to have potential as great nexus; will probably lead to my tracking down half-dozen more sources for more reading.Hoping recipient will lend it to me soon- ... Read more

8. Seeing Things
by Seamus Heaney
 Paperback: 128 Pages (1993-04-01)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$2.99
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Asin: 0374523894
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Seeing Things (1991), as Edward Hirsch wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "is a book of thresholds and crossings, of losses balanced by marvels, of casting and gathering and the hushed, contrary air between water and sky, earth and heaven." Along with translations from the Aeneid and the Inferno, this book offers several poems about Heaney's late father.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A formidable achievement
Perhaps this book represents Heaney's finest poetry since 'Field Work.'It contains the magnificent sequence 'Squarings,' and a continuation of his Glanmore sonnets.The craftsmanship impeccable, the voice down-to-earth.

We remember especially his sonnet on Lent in which the poet deals with 'A fasted will marauding through the body,' and the poem "Wheels within Wheels," where a child spins the pedals of an inverted bicycle and notes "The way the space between the hub and rim / Hummed with transparency."Note the unobtrusive assonances, & the exact right words.

In one of the twelve-line poems of 'Squarings', Heaney counsels himself and other poets: 'Do not waver / Into language.Do not waver in it.'In this sequence, it is Heaney's happy accomplishment to have heeded that counsel in an exemplary fashion.Driving through an avenue or tunnel of trees, arching over a quarter-mile stretch of country road, Heaney sees the trees as 'Calligraphic shocks / Bushed and tufted in prevailing winds.'Could Thomas Hardy or Wallace Stevens have done as well?

Talking about it isn't good enough,

But quoting from it at least demonstrates

The virtue of an art that knows its mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Honor Of St Patrick's Day...
i thought i'd read a irish writer. i couldn't think of a better choice than heaney. the poems here are subtle, but infinitely brilliant. i love the way he uses mythology in some of the pieces, taking references from dante and homer. he draws from his family life, childhood, and his lifelong experiences to create poems that arewondrous in form and content.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic, deserving of the Nobel Prize!
Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, in large part because of this book. The poetry isn't archaic or highbrow or needing 80 pages of notes to understand. It's written comfortably and easily, about simple things from his childhood and life.

I bought this to take on a trip to Ireland, and it was fantastic reading it while walking the green meadows and rocky coastline. It breathes Irish air. If you have a love for the misty grasses, or simply enjoy rural, quiet life, read through these poems.

The poems talk of birth, and love, and death, of heather bells and boats in docks. Give them a try, and be swept away in their gentle language.

5-0 out of 5 stars reading poetry
Mr. Heaney's titled poem "Seeing Things" takes us to a fishing trip between father and son.It is a calming journey about childhood, youth and the bond between father and son, and poet and audience.I wish that learning to read poetry is as mystical and unassumingly peaceful as learning to fish with one's parent.My wish may be true. ... Read more

9. District and Circle: Poems
by Seamus Heaney
Paperback: 96 Pages (2007-04-03)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$1.00
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Asin: 0374530815
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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District and Circle inhabits the eerie new conditions of a menaced twenty-first century. In their haunted, almost visionary clarity, the poems assay the weight and worth of what has been held in the hand and in the memory. Scenes from a childhood spent far from the horrors of World War II are colored by a strongly contemporary sense that Â"Anything can happen,Â" and other images from the dangerous presentÂ--a fireman's helmet, a journey on the Underground, a melting glacierÂ--are fraught with this same anxiety. But the volume, which includes some Â"found proseÂ" poems and translations, offers resistance as the poet gathers his staying powers and stands his ground in the hiding places of love and excited language. With more relish and conviction than ever, Heaney maintains his trust in the obduracy of workaday realities and the mystery of everyday renewals.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars District and Circle
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and as many of the other reviewers have already stated it harks back to his earlier pieces "Death of a Naturalist" in particular
This is the Heaney that I enjoy most - the image evoking sounds of his words, the ordinariness of the scenes, and for an Irish farmers daughter who now lives in the States the words bring back a ton of memories. In Quitting Time for instance, the phrase "redding up"(clearing up and tidying the farmyard after the day's work) is a phrase I haven't heard in years and boy does it remind me of my Dad. This collection is a gem and just delightful to dip into.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply Satisfying
While the work of older poets like Merwin and Rich is strictly valedictory, Seamus Heaney continues to write because he has something to say. Technical virtuosity in the off-kilter sonnet "A Shiver" is truly impressive; check "In Iowa" as well: "In Iowa once. In the slush and rush and hiss/Not of parted but of rising waters." The undisputed king, and the best kind--he keeps proving he deserves the signet ring. AMAZON should make a once-a-month six-star rating per user; you get mine, Mr. Heaney.

5-0 out of 5 stars District & Circle
The title poem alone is worth the admission price. A great work, "Tollund Man" and other poems harken back to early Heaney--an elder echo to North, Wintering Out and Door Into the Dark.

5-0 out of 5 stars A LOVELY BOOK

5-0 out of 5 stars Smoking Irish peat
It felt as if a piece of smoking Irish peat had been flung in my door when this little paperback arrived in Santa Monica, California. The pages are alive with Ireland, the thoughts and feelings I had forgotten or never knew how to acknowledge.

"There was an extra-ness in the air, as if a gate had been left open in the usual life, as if something might get in or get out."
The unseen and untouchable are tangible here. I love it all. ... Read more

10. The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone
Paperback: 88 Pages (2005-11-03)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$0.99
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Asin: 0374530076
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her duty to bury all of her close kin. Enraged, Creon condemns her to death, and his soldiers wall her up in a tomb. While Creon eventually agrees to Antigone's release, it is too late: She takes her own life, initiating a tragic repetition of events in her family's history.

In this outstanding new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity in Sophocles' masterpiece, and inks it with his own modern and masterly touch.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Burial at Thebes
Thank goodness for Amazon.com, I was able to get this item, as well as all of the others before my Degree course began. The item arrived in plenty of time and in the condition I was expecting, many thanks to the seller AND to Amazon.com.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a delightful rendering of a classic drama
Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He rewrites the fifth century Greek Sophocles' masterpiece Antigone in very readable modern English poetry. The story focuses on the never resolved conflict between a person's rights and the needs of the state. Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, hears that the king refuses to bury one of her brothers because the king feels that he was treacherous. She expresses her disagreement and the king contemns her to death. The book can be read easily even by people unfamiliar with Greek tragedies. People should know Sophocles' story because it is an interesting drama and because modern writers and film-makers have repeatedly copied its theme with sometimes very little variations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably THE Best Version for Teaching Antigone
Heaney's version of Antigone is excellent: clear, clean, and accessible! Primarily, the text seems suited for students--probably THE best version for teaching. But, even so, I think that I prefer it for myself as well.

While some purists may complain about its looseness causing readers to lose so much of the original language, connotatively and detonatively, I suggest that some of the more literal translations cause many readers to miss more than they keep because their language is so opaque.

Whatever poetry may be lost in this version, I think, is made up for by the uncovering of the dramatic text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Teaching Tool
After teaching years of sophomore English, I have finally found a version of Antigone that even 15 and 16-year-olds can understand and appreciate.Still loads of figurative language to teach and what an author to introduce your students to alongside Sophocles!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not terribly poetic
The Antigone of Sophocles exists in a number of English renditions. The Abbey Theatre commissioned Heaney to do yet another for its centenary. In an afterword to this volume he explains the genesis of his version -- why he decided to do it and how. He explained his poetic tactics, as it were, and justified a "middle style" by referring to Yeats, who wrote of a "common" style he and others used -- many years earlier, of course -- in plays for the Abbey.

Hmm. There is no question that the language Heaney uses here is plain. It is possible to see his three-beat lines and his five-beat pentameter and his Beowulf-style 4-beat alliterative lines in the reading. What I don't see is poetry -- I don't actually even see much verse. The language seems neutral rather than charged. Poetry can use common words, but needs to cause shivers -- not in every line, but often enough that the reader keeps alert for more electricity. The various verse lines he uses are rather weakly distinctive: the forms hover around their ideals without touching them enough to keep a listener on track.

I saw the play performed by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater company on September 18, 2005. It played somewhat better than it read (e.g. the initial byplay between Antigone and Ismene, and that between Creon and Haemon). Still, though, having read it, I was listening carefully (hopefully?) for the beat of the verse -- or at least the feel of the verse. In fact, though the actors did a good job and did, as I think, justice to the text, it seemed rather flat.

Perhaps I disagree with the "plain" style. I think Sophocles was a powerful poet whose language rang with hard beauty and allusive power. He must have been. Perhaps, though, all this happened in the songs that the chorus, and sometimes the principals, sang. For another quarrel I have with this version is that it does not give any indications of choral parts -- strophe and antistrophe -- so even in principle it is not singable. What is more, this is a rather loose rendering of Sophocles play (a "version"), which does not really depart from the drama, but makes it more spare of expression. This comes at the expense of some of the specifically Greek elements, such as constant specific references to Zeus. Yet it is still a classical Greek play, just less of one. Moreover, there were no notes on the text, while there were at least a few puzzling parts that should have been noted, as well as the choral parts. But who knows -- maybe the Abbey Theatre made more of it than I can! ... Read more

11. The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Paperback: 260 Pages (2009-01-19)
list price: US$30.99 -- used & new: US$5.35
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Asin: 0521547555
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Seamus Heaney is a unique phenomenon in contemporary literature, as a poet whose individual volumes (such as his Beowulf translation, and individual volumes of poems such as Electric Light and District and Circle) have been high in the bestseller lists for decades. Since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, he has come to be considered one of the most important English language poets in the world. This Companion gives an up-to-date overview of his career thus far, and of his reception in Ireland, England and around the world. Its distinguished contributors offer detailed readings of all his major publications, in poetry, prose and translation. The essays further explore the central themes of his poetry, his relations with other writers, and his prose writing. Designed for students, this volume will also have much to interest and inform the general reader and admirer of Heaney's unique poetic voice. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest living Irish poet and essayist, and an Oxford reader, as viewed from Cambridge
The introduction (by editor and contributor, poet Bernard O'Donoghue) to this remarkably comprehensive (for being under three hundred pages, including Index and Guide to Further Reading) study contains mention of Mr. Heaney's inclusion in the 1982 edition of the Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry without further comment other than noting this "saw the emergence of Heaney as one of the factors that made a new anthology timely (p. 2)."

This was in 1982 at a moment of hunger strikes in British prisons in Northern Ireland. This overlooks Mr. Heaney's own question at the time of his inclusion in an anthology of British poetry, and for the nonce lets slip the entire political question. Nevertheless, do not this astonishing omission serve to raise red flags nor doubts about the quality of this collection of critical essays; somehow this omission, as in post-modern literature, awakens within the alert reader the question, which shortly is very well reviewed within the introduction itself and the subsequent essays. This is Sherlock Holmes's dog which did not bark in the night, whose lack of bark must alarm us into close attention, an attention which is well repaid.

Mr. Heaney's devotion to his art, his craft has long been challenged by some who seek a more explicit political position, as he came very much through the Troubles in Northern Ireland as a Catholic with a fine British education. On the other hand he would not be accused of milking the pain and suffering of that horrible situation for his personal artistic or commercial benefit. Thus some draw parallel to Mr. WB Yeats, in particular his Easter 1916. See for example: The Cambridge Companion to W. B. Yeats (Cambridge Companions to Literature).

This is the central cross of Mr. Heaney's work, his struggle to write in a time of great political division and death. This is one aspect of his work examined very deeply in these essays, and in this excellent introduction.

Mr. O'Donoghue also contributes a fifteen page essay on "Heaney's Classics and the Bucolic." Heather O'Donoghue writes "Heaney, Beowulf and the Medieval Literature of the North." Neal Corcoran studies Heaney and Yeats. Guinn Batten examines Heaney and Wordsworth and poetics of displacement, telling given Heaney's years in exile from Northern Ireland. Andrew Murphy looks at Heaney and the Irish Poetic tradition, while Dillon Johnston traces Irish influence and confluence in Heaney's poetry. Justin Quinn reveals Heaney's strong interest in the poetry of Eastern Europe. In all fourteen critical essays explain Heaney as his work, including as essayist in David Wheatley's Professing poetry. The fourteen essays (not all mentioned here) end with John Wilson Foster's examination of Heaney after 50, giving all having passed a half century hope as Foster credits Heaney's marvels.

This is indeed a marvelous and worthy companion to Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. Please see the other volumes in this series on Irish poets, as cited above, but above all study well the work in verse and in prose of Mr. Heaney himself, including his collection of lectures entitled The Redress of Poetry and his various recordings of his and other's work, such as Beowulf: A New Translation [Audiobook]. ... Read more

12. The Redress of Poetry
by Seamus Heaney
Paperback: 240 Pages (1996-10-30)
list price: US$21.00 -- used & new: US$7.40
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Asin: 0374524882
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Seamus Heaney defines the title of this work of criticism as follows: "To redress poetry is to know and celebrate it for its forcibleness as itself . . . not only as a matter of profferd argument and edifying content but as a matter of angelic potential, a motion of the soul." Throughout this collection, Heaney's insight and eloquence are themselves of a poetic order.
Amazon.com Review
From the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literaturecomes a collection of essays based on lectures he delivered whileProfessor of Poetry at Oxford. The great Irish poet delivers wisdomabout his craft in a style full of humor and devoid of pedantry. Withhis expansive spirit, Heaney examines poets such as Brian Merriman, Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomasand, of course, WilliamButler Yeats. The Redress of Poetry is a rare opportunityto enter the lecture hall and learn from a master. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Strong Enough To Help
The Redress of Poetry is a series of lectures given by Seamus Heaney at Oxford; in all of them, he examines poetry and how it can be strong enough to help the reader, to act as an equal force to the life lived by the reader.He looks at all kinds of poets - Dylan Thomas, Christopher Marlowe, Yeats, Wilde and Bishop - and of course talks about his own position as a Catholic from the Northern Ireland living in Dublin.In all the lectures Heaney is wonderfully informal and funny, while still solidly getting across how important and vital these writers are.The lecture on Thomas alone is a great lesson on writing and authenticity, and the last one, "Frontiers of Writing", makes a strong case that a nation is imagined by writers first - that language, poetry, opens up possibilities in nations as well as in people.Though he knows that words can't do everything, Heaney's affection for writing and writers is convincing.At his best, he made me want to go back to the poet and read more, and not many people can make me do that! ... Read more

13. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition)
Paperback: 215 Pages (2001-02)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.00
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Asin: 0393320979
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the classic Northern epic of a hero's triumphs as a young warrior and his fated death as a defender of his people. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed in the exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels in this story to the historical curve of consciousness in the twentieth century, but the poem also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating. In his new translation, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney has produced a work that is both true, line by line, to the original poem and a fundamental expression of his own creative gift. A New York Times bestseller, winner of the Whitbread Award.Amazon.com Review
In Beowulf warriors must back up their mead-hall boasts with instantaction, monsters abound, and fights are always to the death. TheAnglo-Saxon epic, composed between the 7th and 10th centuries, has longbeen accorded its place in literature, though its hold on our imaginationhas been less secure. In the introduction to his translation, Seamus Heaneyargues that Beowulf's role as a required text for many Englishstudents obscured its mysteries and "mythic potency." Now, thanks to theIrish poet's marvelous recreation (in both senses of the word) under AlfredDavid's watch, this dark, doom-ridden work gets its day in the sun.

There are endless pleasures in Heaney's analysis, but readers should headstraight for the poem and then to the prose. (Some will also takeadvantage of the dual-language edition and do some linguistic teasing outof their own.) The epic's outlines seem simple, depicting Beowulf's three key battles with the scaliest brutes in all of art:Grendel, Grendel's mother (who's in a suitably monstrous snit after herson's dismemberment and death), and then, 50 years later, agold-hoarding dragon "threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire."Along the way, however, we are treated to flashes back and forward and to aworld view in which a thane's allegiance to his lord and to God isabsolute. In the first fight, the man from Geatland must travel to Denmarkto take on the "shadow-stalker" terrorizing Heorot Hall. HereBeowulf and company set sail:

Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank,
sand churned in the surf, warriors loaded
a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear
in the vessel's hold, then heaved out,
away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.
Over the waves, with the wind behind her
and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird...
After a fearsome night victory over march-haunting and heath-maraudingGrendel, our high-born hero is suitably strewn with gold and praise, thequeen declaring: "Your sway is wide as the wind's home, / as the seaaround cliffs." Few will disagree. And remember, Beowulf has two moretrials to undergo.

Heaney claims that when he began his translation it all too often seemed"like trying to bring down a megalith with a toy hammer." The poem'schallenges are many: its strong four-stress line, heavy alliteration, andprofusion of kennings could have been daunting. (The sea is, among otherthings, "the whale-road," the sun is "the world's candle," and Beowulf's thirdopponent is a "vile sky-winger." When it came to over-the-top compoundphrases, the temptations must have been endless, but for the most part,Heaney smiles, he "called a sword a sword.") Yet there are few signs ofeffort in the poet's Englishing. Heaney varies his lines with ease,offering up stirring dialogue, action, and description while not stintingon the epic's mix of fate and fear. After Grendel's misbegotten mothercomes to call, the king's evocation of her haunted home may strike dreadinto the hearts of men and beasts, but it's a gift to the reader:

A few miles from here
a frost-stiffened wood waits and keeps watch
above a mere; the overhanging bank
is a maze of tree-roots mirrored in its surface.
At night there, something uncanny happens:
the water burns. And the mere bottom
has never been sounded by the sons of men.
On its bank, the heather-stepper halts:
the hart in flight from pursuing hounds
will turn to face them with firm-set horns
and die in the wood rather than dive
beneath its surface. That is no good place.
In Heaney's hands, the poem's apparent archaisms and Anglo-Saxonattitudes--its formality, blood-feuds, and insane courage--turn the art ofan ancient island nation into world literature. --Kerry Fried ... Read more

Customer Reviews (274)

5-0 out of 5 stars Two Masterpieces -- One Ancient, One Modern
Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's rendering of "Beowulf" is one of the greatest literary translations I have read. His words sound from the very bones of the this old Anglo-Saxon poem. The alliteration and cadence that animate the original are brought back to life to quicken the modern pulse. His translation expresses all the galloping rhythm of this early masterwork with clarity and ease.

The Beowulf poem, perhaps composed as an elegy, recounts the deeds of the perhaps-mythical warrior of the Scandinavian Geats. In its most famous episode, the hero comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, whose hall is best by the ghastly incursions of a damned brute named Grendel. After facing this ghoul in battle, Beowulf confronts the vengeful wrath of Grendel's mother. In a last episode, coming years later at the end of Beowulf's life, he meets a great fiery dragon in one final struggle.

Much is conveyed about the somber psychology of the brooding North in an era of combat and bloodshed. Without dismissing the fantastic Grendel, the contemporary reader may fruitfully consider what manner of dread inspired this image of an unstoppable, ravenous monster careening through hearth and home. The poem functions as a work of horror fiction, and I'm inclined to read Grendel as a cipher for the anxieties of the warrior class.

Gaining a rare glimpse into court life in the early middle ages is itself worth the price of admission. The odd but harmonious melding of a pagan and Christian worldview also provides food for thought.

My one complaint is that Heaney's introduction says nothing about the history of the work, what we know of its composition and context, or the manuscript's provenance. Granted, this information is readily available, but it's surely worth a page.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sonnet review (from All-Consuming Books)
"Behold! The Spear-Danes, back in days gone by
had built a mead-hall (castle) broad and tall,
but Grendel, God-cursed monster, came to try
his claw-tipped hand at murder and killed all
of Hrothgar the ring-giver (king)'s strong guard.
But no one man or group of men could stop
the creature until Beowulf, a hard-
bitten established warrior, said he'd lop
cruel Grendel's head off. He crossed the whale-road (sea)
from Geatland to help out the oppressed Danes,
and knows without a doubt that only he
can free the drighten (lord) and his knights (thanes)
from Grendel. Beowulf goes back to his own
land and kills a dragon, but this tale's more well-known."

The Breakdown: Beowulf is a 3,000-line epic poem that was written in Old English roughly a thousand years ago (no one's quite certain when) by an anonymous author. It's the subject of an insane amount of study by people with PhDs, but it's beautiful to read even if you don't have serious academic leanings. It is also almost nothing like the 2007 computer-animated movie of the same name, so a gold-suited Angelina Jolie appears nowhere in this epic.

Notes on this edition: I enjoy Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf because I feel like he gives a better sense of the underlying poetry, where some other translations are more invested in the story itself. In this bilingual edition, the contemporary English translation runs opposite a page of Old English poetry, which is a real visual treat and shows just how much the language has changed over time. Seamus Heaney's introduction to the book is also very helpful and informative, and margin notes help readers pinpoint important scenes.

This isn't fiction as we know it, with character development, plot arcs, and crafted dialogue. In epics, everything is happening on a huge scale. The characters aren't really characters so much as "doers of deeds," the means by which the Really Amazing Stuff gets accomplished. And nobody does manliness like the Anglo-Saxons, so there's plenty of descriptions of fights and contests and glory. There are some major themes at work, though, and a few I can readily identify are: culture versus chaos, with Heorot the mead-hall as a seat of human achievement and greatness and Grendel trying to undo it; Christianity versus the demonic world, since Grendel hates to hear the sound of the creation story (it's a little like the Grinch hating the Whos and their "noise, noise, noise, noise!" if the Grinch had decided to exact bloody vengeance instead of stealing the roast beast), and the importance of having a king, since a king/lord is the person who distributes wealth to his subjects and is the people's main bulwark against destruction. Another bonus to this epic are the loose ties to The Lord of the Rings. In fact, Tolkien wrote a very influential academic paper called "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics," and bits of Beowulf's influence can be seen in the landscape of his stories, especially in Rohan where you have a mead hall, Meduseld which corresponds to Heorot, a warrior race called the Rohirrim or Eorlingas which corresponds to the Danes or Shieldings, and an old king Theoden who is like Hrothgar. That's where the similarities end, but they are there.

As far as the poetry goes, Old English emphasized alliteration and stresses instead of a rhyme scheme, so the translation follows that example and uses alliteration and lots of hard, crunchy consonants. Hyphenated words called kennings are also abundant, words like "word-horde" instead of "vocabulary" and "hall-troops" instead of "guard," because when Ye Olde English needed to create new words, it usually just jammed together two old ones--the effect is pretty cool, and not as cavemanish as it sounds.

Through Beowulf's encounters with three monsters, there's a heavy sense of doom waiting just around the corner. No matter how many nasties Beowulf defeats, he can't ward off trouble forever, for himself or his people, because even heroes are mortal. After all the deeds are done, the story ends on a down note and a funeral, because epics tend to conclude with the direct opposite of happily ever after, with either "and nothing was resolved and the cycle of war went on with no end in sight" or "and everybody died or was soon about to die". So even though it's only about 100 pages long, Beowulf isn't light reading, but it is a beautifully written old story and a great slice of a long-gone culture.

1-0 out of 5 stars Poor Selection
Unfortunately, when my daughter searched for the title Beowulf, she did not realize what popped up was a version with the same description, cover, etc., however, it was a tape version and she needed the book version.In order for her to have ordered the book version, she would have had to scroll down the page and click on paperback.As it was a used copy, she was not offered the opportunity to return.Unfortunately, we then had to purchase a book version in the stores.When I tried to go on and order the book, the same thing happened to me.This is, I feel, a problem, as you search under "books", for a taped version to be the first thing that comes up.Just my opinion.We will look more carefully in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best!
Reading Beowulf was one the highlights of high school! We compared Old English to Modern English with the help of this wonderful edition. However, all work on this was done in class we read aloud and listened to the CDs that accompany the book. Every day we left class eager to return and discover what happened next. This is a work that has truly stood the test of time, exciting young people now just as it did hundreds of years ago.

5-0 out of 5 stars Translation
Wonderful translation. I've read other versions and none are as clear and poetic as Heaney's. ... Read more

14. The Faber Yeats: Poems Selected by Seamus Heaney (Poet to Poet: An Essential Choice of Classic Verse)
by W. B. Yeats
Paperback: 160 Pages (2004-03-04)
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Asin: 057122296X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In the "Poet to Poet" series, a contemporary poet advocates a poet of the past or present whom they have particularly admired. By their selection of verses and their critical reactions, the selectors offer intriguing insights into their own work. Here, Seamus Heaney selects W.B. Yeats. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

You will find within this volume a generously representative selection from the lifetime work of our great Irish poet Mr. William B. Yeats in a very portable paperback format, but with the only indication of source or date carried on the four page Table of Contents (a very few curiously carry in small print a date). There is no individual commenting of the poems, nor reason for the editor, Nobel Laureate and fellow Irish poet Seamus Heaney's choice, outside of some references in his Introduction.

The fifteen page introduction is in itself a biographical and critical essay on Mr. Yeats, written by a fellow initiate and practitioner of this mystic art, yet we find it even at this length quite condensed, even more obscure than other essays by this great author and professor (Oxford, Harvard, etc.) of poetry. His various other essays and lectures on Yeats read like enjoying a refreshingly tall glass of porter with a patient, lucid, happy, knowledgeable and witty friend. This introduction, even at fifteen pages, is so concentrate as to feel a burning touch to the lips from a thimble full of powerful Jameson's. Read this introduction slowly, olfactory, most carefully and thoughtfully. Read it again, and you will uncover its treasures and its yeatsian wisdom.

I rather and strongly recommend for those of us too new to Mr. Yeats that we read Mr. Heaney's excellent transcripts of his lectures on WB published in his prose collections The Redress of Poetry (pp. 146-163) and especially in Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978 (pp. 98-114) where we find Mr. Heaney apparently more comfortably expounding upon the great leader of the Celtic Twilight and Irish Literary Renaissance. Here in this volume of verse we find him more concentrate; can there be any other word for it?

Certainly a most useful study of Mr. WB Yeats is read in Harvard Professor Helen Vendler'sexcellent Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form, which, like Mr. Heaney's efforts, draws back the screen from the work and shows us its inner workings and historical context. Careful study of these books into the late night (and yes I have no TV) draw you to wake up before daylight tapping iambs upon your pillow as you express your heart in intertwining pentameter, trimeter, tetrameter according to the rhythmic, rhyming and logical schematics of the great Yeats himself.

This therefore is a most useful small volume, nearly one hundred of Yeats poems selected by a sensitive and recognized fellow poet. It is greatly recommended for those who have studied his work in the other commentaries and in courses, as you may not find all of the information you seek here. It helps to know the legend of Cuchulain, for instance, but not essential.

You may find of course other and even more comprehensive collections of the verses of Mr. Yeats, including at COLLECTED POEMS OF W.B. YEATS, at The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats: Definitive Edition, With the Author's Final Revisions and several others. Nevertheless you may not easily discover an edition as compact, as concentrate, nor as portable as this humble yet surprisingly comprehensive collection.

Take this small, slim pocket book with you upon your long and lonesome journey and you will know you are not alone. It takes up so little space. You will see the world as it is; you will see just where you are, and you will write.

Take this book. You will read, gratefully, and you will write. ... Read more

15. Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney
by Dennis O'Driscoll
Paperback: 560 Pages (2010-03-30)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$10.09
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Asin: 0374531935
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Widely regarded as the finest poet of his generation, Seamus Heaney is the subject of numerous critical studies, but no book-length portrait has appeared before now. Through his own lively and eloquent reminiscences, Stepping Stones retraces Heaney’s steps from his first exploratory testing of the ground as an infant to what he called his “moon-walk” to the podium to receive the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. It also fascinatingly charts his post-Nobel life and is supplemented with a number of photographs, many from the Heaney family album and published here for the first time. In response to firm but subtle questioning from Dennis O’Driscoll, Heaney sheds a personal light on his work (poems, essays, translations, plays) and on the artistic and ethical challenges he faced during the dark years of the Ulster Troubles. Combining the spontaneity of animated conversation with the considered qualities of the best autobiographical writing, Stepping Stones provides an original, diverting, and absorbing store of reflections and recollections. Scholars and general readers alike are brought closer to the work, life, and creative development of a charismatic and lavishly gifted poet whose latest collection, District and Circle, was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2006.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A "different" but excellent biography
I happened to be writing a paper on Seamus Heaney, the contemporary Irish poet, for my literary club. There is no official "biography" as such but this is better! It's a series of questions and answers put to Mr. Heaney by Dennis O'Driscoll, a very talented writer in his own right. It is anything but dry, as so many biographies are. I really feel that I "know" Mr. Heaney now. Mr. O'Driscoll is a skilled interviewer and asks questions I never would have thought of. The book is fairly long and took several years to write but is so interesting that it's a fast read. I really really liked this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars interviews of the past decade with our greatest living poet
We welcome the arrival of this thick (over five hundred pages) collection of interviews with Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney conducted over the past decade by Dublin civil servant, poet and essayist Dennis O'Driscoll, who describes his interviewing role thus: "My own role here is that of prompter rather than interrogator -the book was in no sense envisaged to be a 'tell all' account of Seamus Healey's life. ( . . .Yet)The only stipulation made at the outset by the poet was that he would not engage in detailed analytical discussion of individual poems. ( . . .)This book does not pretend to be an authorized 'reader's guide' to Seamus Healey's poems as reference points. It offers a biographical context for the poems and a poetry-based account of the life. It reviews the life by re-viewing it from the perspective of Heaney's late sixties: a life which has itself been monitored - sometimes almost as closely as his books have been reviewed - by critics and
journalists (Introduction, pp. xi, xii)."

With those caveats this massive work goes on to explore freely all of the above and more.

If you wish a profound, technical, thematic examination of the earlier works of Heaney (up to 1998 and The Spirit Level) you do very well to read carefully the much briefer (not 200 small pages) work of the great critic and professor Helen Vendler in Seamus Heaney. In any case her work is the most accessible and kindest manner to approach this great Irish poet's opus; she truly and gently lies open the meaning and possibilities of his writing in a global manner limited only by the demands of the shortened space, much as she did with Heaney's forefather more fully in Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form as well as The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Here, as Irish poet O'Driscoll cautions, we may not find the poet's technical explication of the development of his writing, although this tangentially is inevitable. We find the life and the context granted by that life for this most transcendent yet deeply involved poet. That life in times of Troubles and of woe and of political and spiritual waste, of human waste, provides much which troubles the poet deeply in his search for a true expression of a deeper (transcendent) meaning, one which we may discover as well through careful reading of the work.

Stylistically this book is set up in a catechetical question and answer format reminiscent of that penultimate episode in Ulysses (Gabler Edition), another influence for Mr. Heaney. This might bring a smile to some readers' lips, or a compulsion to read; it is refreshing, and one feels the humility, the subtlety, the invisibility which O'Driscoll brings to his enormous task.

The chapters are arranged around the volumes of work; as cautioned above the discussion will be neither technical nor analytical of individual poems, but of the life which gave them fruition. In a way we may find this disingenuous as this life cannot be separate from this poetry; a close discussion of certain relevant lines and their significances is inevitable and unavoidable and very, very welcomed.

The Nobel Laureate and Irish Poet Seamus Heaney has been one of our greatest poets in English in this past half century; we do well to read him now as ever to understand where we come from and where we stand and to where we may be going: this is the service, the grace, the gift of any great and serious poet, and in particular the gifted, trained Heaney.

Let us start at the beginning to understand his life's work once more. The individual volumes are readily available here upon this broad amazon, but it might be more favorable to get the recollection of the early volumes in Poems, 1965-1975: Death of a Naturalist / Door Into the Dark / Wintering Out / North. In any case I urge you to collect all that you can of him, including the several recordings, and read or listen as carefully and deeply as possible, repeatedly, as lectio divina, and learn about our world more than any news broadcaster or commentator can holler at you. Heaney has thought most deeply about these things, and shares most clearly and succinctly Truth, generously, with us within the tradition of poetry in the English and Saxon and Irish tongues. Oddly we find not much discussion of his excellent translation (and recording) of Beowulf.

Read this book. A worthy Christmas gift!

Within the text, Heaney discusses the very phenomenon we find mentioned by O'Driscoll in the Introduction, that a meta-analysis of the poetry itself serves no one well. In discussing the "solemn" Station Island, Heaney comments: I didn't begin, as you know, by writing at the head of my page, 'Now I shall punish lyric.' After the poem was published, I was trying to characterize it from the outside - and doing so, I suppose, in order to give a new reader some orientation. There's a very earnest note to the thing, but I don't think I could have done it any other way. The literary critic in me might have fun with what eventually came out, but the poet in me just had to work through the material that was piled up in the middle of his road. Then if you'll excuse the expression, he lightened up and got a bit of lift-off in Sweeney Redividus' (p. 240)."

The best orientation a new reader might find lies within Vendler's study, although it is ten years too short. This present study adequately makes up the short fall and far more. Meet our greatest living poet, and study him very well.

Excellent, comprehensive bibliography, glossary, maps and chronology, etc., accompany these interviews, as one would expect from such a precisely academic work. Give it to one you love very deeply. Give it to yourself to grow in love and in wisdom, but read it! ... Read more

16. The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry
by Ted Hughes
Paperback: 496 Pages (2005-03-17)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.04
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Asin: 0571225837
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Rattle Bag is an anthology of poetry (mostly in English but occasionally in translation) for general readers and students of all ages and backgrounds. These poems have been selected by the simple yet telling criteria that they are the personal favorites of the editors, themselves two of contemporary literature's leading poets.

Moreover, Heaney and Hughes have elected to list their favorites not by theme or by author but simply by title (or by first line, when no title is given). As they explain in their Introduction: "We hope that our decision to impose an arbitrary alphabetical order allows the contents [of this book] to discover themselves as we ourselves gradually discovered them--each poem full of its singular appeal, transmitting its own signals, taking its chances in a big, voluble world."

With undisputed masterpieces and rare discoveries, with both classics and surprises galore, The Rattle Bag includes the work of such key poets as William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Dylan Thomas, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, and Sylvia Plath among its hundreds of poems. A helpful Glossary as well as an Index of Poets and Works are offered at the conclusion of this hefty, unorthodox, diverse, inspired, and inspiring collection of poetry.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite a valid anthology
In short:I have always loved this book, and I return to it often.The editors have assembled a wondrous array of world poems that , IMHO, succeed in meeting the goal of the text: To in some way present the joy of poetry to young people.I happen to be a non-poet in my 50's and The Rattle Bag is an ongoing source of joy in my life, because it is a thoughtful and vibrant collection.

In long[er]: Mssrs. Hughes and Heaney are who they are, and the collection here certainly makes some sort of statement about their own views of poetry as it might be encountered by young people. This collection reminds me of Harry Smith's Folkways Anthology of Folk Music... each individual piece is valid in its own way, but the collection adds up to more than the sum of its parts. On the other side: the editors chose to present the poems in order, sorted alphabetically by title, which tends to minimize any sense of editorializing.In the end, it's the kind of anthology that can be opened to any page and enjoyed for any length of time, and it'll move anybody regardless of age.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected
I'd hoped for an eclectic selection of late 20th century poetry like Garrion Keeler's Good Poems.I found many poems I already had in other anthologies in this collection.But more than that, the poetry just didn't move me--too masculine perhaps. I wonder.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonder
This collection is a masterpiece, and its companion volume the School Bag is every bit as good.While the collection includes many classics, the various obsessions of the editors have led them to uncover works that you are unlikely to have read before.

I return to this anthology again and again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well done
A fascinating collection, more useful for insights into the favorites of two of the more important poets of the late 20th century than for anything else. While bowing down to no old chestnuts out of misplaced respect, thecollection also suffers from a preferance for poets from Ireland and theUnited Kingdom and some choices seemingly inspired by multi-culturalism andlittle else. Nonetheless, the collection does have some wonderful piecesthat would be hard to find on one's own, as well as a fantastic tribute toShakespeare by including several passages from his plays and none of thesonnets. ... Read more

17. North (Faber Library)
by Seamus Heaney
 Hardcover: 80 Pages (1996-08-12)

Isbn: 0571177808
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of a series of titles first published by Faber between 1930 and 1990, and in a style and format planned with a view to the appearance of the volumes on the bookshelf. This is a collection of poetry, by the winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature, which articulates a vision of Ireland. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mystic poems from the Celtic-Nordic Axis
These poems connect the twenty first century reader with the Celtic past of Ireland, in a unique way: through the experience of the marauding Vikings.Wonderful poems with a mythic edge.Heaney is fantastic.

Fans of Heaney's Beowulf translation will find a great introduction tohis work here in this accessible group of poems.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Poems
I don't know much about poetry, but as a fan of Irish culture, I decided to pick up this small collection.I was moved by the images.Heaney brought the past alive.I could picture the Vikings coming up the Shannonand storming Clen McNois and other monastries.Definately recommended! ... Read more

18. Death of a Naturalist (Faber Pocket Poetry)
by Seamus Heaney
Paperback: 64 Pages (1999-10-04)
-- used & new: US$97.54
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Asin: 0571202403
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Poems deal with fathers, the past, mortality, nature, violence, school, rural life, love, fear, and childhood. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Poetry as Hard Labour (in a Good Way)
Seamus Heaney's first collection of poems is an accessible and understatedexperiment in lyrical description. It was written in 1966 and what firststrikes the contemporary is an adherence to metrical and rhyming (usuallyoff-rhyming) patterns now considered undesirably strict. Much of the timeHeaney smacks of Larkin - without (for this reader) the touch of Larkin'scharismatic individuality. But one quickly appreciates the earnestcraftsmanship of these poems. Indeed Heaney's characteristic equation ofpoetry with 'working', 'labouring', etc. is evident throughout these earlypieces. 'Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I'll digwith it.': there are many instances here of words being forged or mouldedor indeed excavated to create a construct of sincere meaning. This is whatpoetry is all about. Heaney has a strong, unambiguously masculine voicethat can, at times, sound like sixteenth-century verse ('Scaffolding' readslike a latterday metaphysical poem). Elsewhere - despite a perhapsenervating lack of humour and whimsicality (although, on consideration, itis by no means a total lack) - these poems sound confident, clear-sightedand sensitive in the way that farmers are (gruffly) sensitive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of poetry!
Skeptical at first, it was required reading [in university] that turned out to be welcome reading.Not only are the poems very well written [as would be expected from a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature] but theway they are presented makes them all the more interesting.He approacheshis own life, looking at his transition from childhood to adulthood and hisdecision of poetry over the rural life of his family.

Noteable poems inthis volume include: Digging, Death of a Naturalist, The Early Surges,Lovers on Aran, Poem, and Synge on Aran.34 poems in total. ... Read more

19. New and Selected Poems
by Seamus Heaney
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-02-19)
list price: US$19.06
Asin: B002ZODPEM
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This volume contains a selection of work from each of Seamus Heaney's published books of poetry up to and including the Whitbread prize-winning collection, The Haw Lantern (1987).'His is 'close-up' poetry - close up to thought, to the world, to the emotions. Few writers at work today, in verse or fiction, can give the sense of rich, fecund, lived life that Heaney does.' John Banville'More than any other poet since Wordsworth he can make us understand that the outside world is not outside, but what we are made of.' John Carey ... Read more

20. Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Editions)
Paperback: 256 Pages (2002-12)
-- used & new: US$8.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393975800
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Winner of the Whitbread Prize, Seamus Heaney's translation "accomplishes what before now had seemed impossible: a faithful rendering that is simultaneously an original and gripping poem in its own right" (New York Times Book Review). The translation that "rides boldly through the reefs of scholarship" (The Observer) is combined with first-rate annotation. No reading knowledge of Old English is assumed. Heaney's clear and insightful introduction to Beowulf provides students with an understanding of both the poem's history in the canon and Heaney's own translation process. "Contexts" provides a rich selection of material on Anglo-Saxon and early Northern culture. "Criticism" features eight essays carefully chosen for their relevance to undergraduate readers, including a full discussion of the Old English poem that lies behind Heaney's translation. Contributors include J.R.R. Tolkien, John Leyerle, Jane Chance, Roberta Frank, Fred C. Robinson, Thomas Hill, Leslie Webster, and Daniel Donoghue. A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography are included.

About the series: No other series of classic texts equals the caliber of the Norton Critical Editions. Each volume combines the most authoritative text available with the comprehensive pedagogical apparatus necessary to appreciate the work fully. Careful editing, first-rate translation, and thorough explanatory annotations allow each text to meet the highest literary standards while remaining accessible to students. Each edition is printed on acid-free paper and every text in the series remains in print. Norton Critical Editions are the choice for excellence in scholarship for students at more than 2,000 universities worldwide. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beowulf
O.K. any highbrows should not read this review. I saw the movie Beowulf and at the end I was left hanging so I read the book and it was nothing like the Movie (surprize)But I loved it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hidden political propaganda by Heaney?
So Heaney won the Noble prize? Then I guess this translation of Beowulf must be politically correct (PC). Because the Swedish Nobel prize committee only nominate authors who have a politically correct moral message in their writings.

This means that Heaney would tone down any excessive nationalism, and hostility towards other ethnic groups, of the original Beowulf. And use the story for his own idealistic purposes, by adding left-wing liberal values to the text, in an attempt to influence the readers with a political multicultural message for Europe's future, in which, for example, citizens will have to accept the colonizing spread of Islam.

Ira Abrams review below seems to confirm this.

If this is the case, then I prefer, for artistry's sake (and for political reasons), another version.

5-0 out of 5 stars The supplements helped me appreciate this classic even more
I am a Beowulf "newbie". I purchased Chickering's translation two and a half weeks ago. I liked the poem so much that I wanted a different translation. I picked Beowulf: A Verse Translation because it was affordable and contained literary crticisms.

This edition is well -worth its money. I read through the supplements, including passages from contemporary Anglo-Saxon works and literary criticisms. (Including Tolkien's famous lecture on the three monsters.) I learned so much about Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Celtic culture. (Well, enough to whet my appetite!)

I value Heaney's use of Ulster dialect. Footnotes include the modern English equivalents. The use of the Ulster dialect gives this ancient poem a bit more "ancient" flavor.

Bonus is the wonderful photographs complementing the criticism on Beowulf and archaeology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sometimes it's good to be critical
I had already bought Heaney's "A New Verse Translation" before I needed to buy this edition for a university class.That said, if you're only looking for a translation of the poem with no frills, buy the "New Verse Translation" because it's got the text in parallel with the original Anglo-Saxon.But if you're interested in Beowulf criticism and related anthropology then pick up this edition, because half the book is critical essays, including Tolkein's seminal work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition
This is a beautiful translation that captures the tone and tenor of Old English. Although it eschews the alliterative line essential to Old English poetry, Heaney's rendering is magically evocative of the somber stoicism and occasionally wry understatement of this seminal poem. The critical commentary provides a nice general scholarly apparatus that helps one contextualize and better appreciate the poem and the achievement of Heaney as a modern day "scop" through whom the original - alas anonymous - poet speaks. ... Read more

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