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Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture Hardcover – June 30, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In his 1995 Nobel lecture, Heaney speaks earnestly about the role of poetry in everyday life?it must be "not only a surprising variation played upon the world, but a retuning of the world itself"?an instrument of shock by which the perception of reality is set right, or at least set anew. Certainly Heaney's own poetry aspires to this goal, assisted by the cobblestone physicality of Irish speech ("And the train tore past with the stoker yelling/ Like a balked king from his iron chariot") and the tragic, almost surreal political climate of Northern Ireland. His latest collection draws on the past-personal, historical, mythic?to articulate an innocence recollected in bitter knowledge, prefigurings of a present discerned only in hindsight. Vivid sounds and smells of childhood compete with acrid reminders of yesterday's truck bombing ("Two Lorries") or drive-by assassination ("Keeping Going"). Nothing?not even memory?Heaney implies, is truly safe, and there is "No such thing/ as innocent/ bystanding"; nevertheless, he strives to create the balance that poetry makes possible, defined in his Nobel lecture as touching "the base of our sympathetic nature while taking in at the same time the unsympathetic reality of the world to which that nature is constantly exposed." The reader's challenge is not to be carried helplessly forward by random events but to take sides, to risk the exposure?of conscience, of values?that Heaney risks as poet and to bear the best of what's discovered there into a refigured world. Both books are recommended for most poetry collections.?Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 53 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (June 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374131384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374131388
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,780,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
The poet begins his Lecture by describing the world of his childhood, a closed- in- family world totally focused on the sounds and sights of the immediate environment. He then goes on to speak of his own education in Poetry and about the special role Poetry has played in his life. For him the focusing on and description of external reality is of first importance. And he speaks about this in the context of the political troubles and history of his native Northern Ireland. He concludes with a commentary on the situation and work of his great Irish Nobel winning predecessor Yeats. His concluding words sum up the whole discourse and define what he believes Poetry is and should be.
"And it is by such means that Yeats's work does what the necessary poetry always does, which is to touch the base of our sympathetic nature while taking in at the same time the unsympathetic nature of the world to which that nature is constantly exposed. The form of the poem, in other words, is crucial to poetry's power to do the thing which always is and always will be to poetry's credit: the power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it, the power to remind us that we are hunters and gatherers of values, that our very solitudes and distresses are creditable, in so far as they, too, are an earnest of our veritable human being."
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By Earl Cherry Jr on February 21, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome book...simply awesome...
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