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District and Circle: Poems Paperback – April 3, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The latest from the Irish Nobel laureate may be his best in more than a decade. Celebrations of everyday objects (a fireman's helmet, a sledgehammer, an anvil), homages to and elegies for other poets (George Seferis, Pablo Neruda, Czeslaw Milosz) and gleaming recollections from the author's rural youth dominate this lyrical volume, which stands out as well for its diversity of forms: the supple pentameters Heaney perfected in such 1990s volumes as Seeing Things rub shoulders with prose poems, rough-hewn quatrains and slower-paced free verse reminiscent of the 1970s poems that made his name. Many efforts strike a ground note of nostalgia: "A Clip" remembers the "one-roomed, one-chimney house" where Heaney got his first haircut, "Senior Infants" looks back at primary school. Yet for all his Irish rootedness, Heaney's newest work remains international (poems set in the London Underground, the Danish bog where he set famous earlier poems, and in a warm and pleasant Italy) and unboundedly global: one of the strongest short lyrics, "Hofn," wonders at a newly melting glacier, anxious about global warming, yet astonished by the ice's remaining immensities, its "grey-gristed earth-pelt, aeon-scruff," "its coldness that still seemed enough/ To iceblock the plane window dimmed with breath." (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics describe Heaney's newest book of poetry as original, startling, authentic, even supernatural—and his strongest collection in two decades. Reminiscent of his earliest collections in its earth-and-labor-centered vision, this volume is all the wiser with hindsight. While displaying a similar sensitivity toward humans, the same lyricism (a subway strap is "a stubby black roof-wort"), and a familiar down-to-earth attitude, District and Circle also asks questions about our impact on Earth. Latin and Gaelic words, as well as references to Dante and Greek myth, may have some readers scrabbling for the dictionary—but even for them, reading Heaney's poems is entirely worth the effort.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374530815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374530815
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It's a book to be savored rather than devoured.
Jay Warner
He had one poem in which he mentioned my ancestral name, so I purchased this book.
LlamaMama
This collection is a gem and just delightful to dip into.
C Andrew Carson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous Lover of Beauty on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I expected to be disappointed with this latest effort. Mr. Heaney started his career with some of the best poetry in English since we lost Wallace Stevens. His first collection, "Death of A Naturalist" is unnaturally strong. He arrived a absolute master of metrics and music; this reader still marvels at those early lyrics, often singing them to himself---elegiac, packed with memorable imagery...poems with a very strong sense of the past (which must have been refreshing after "The Pound and Elliot era"...an era that, in my humble estimation, shut more doors than it opened), but which were unique and spoke to the Right Now. Heaney built on this "early candor" in successive volumes, but I have been depressed by his more recent work. It has settled into that super-literate backslapping, in-circle, kissing-their-own-hands academic verse that we are literally drowning in right now. Heaney has always been a learned poet, and to his readers delight--but in his early years he remained apart from the workshop and the lecture hall. With his appointment at various universities, I'm afraid his work has changed. His many poetic friendships I'm sure are enriching, but do we have to read about them? I wish more poets would have the courage of, say, a W.S. Merwin, contributing translations, keeping the bar high, but nevertheless standing apart from "the scene". Well, digression aside, Mr.Heany's new work is superb. The lyrics are grounded--in metaphors of work, of change, of loss. The lyrics are varied; so is the music--and in verbal music, Heaney has no peer. For years, the late James Merril vied with him for that laurel crown--now Heaney stands alone, and here he makes a sound that is touching, vivid, often incantatory, full of squelch and belch. Here we have a poet at blossoming into a late wonder.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sheelagh O'Connor on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C Andrew Carson on August 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Wesker on May 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Daley on July 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
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.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Gallo on November 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You cannot read these poems without feeling better about the whole universe. He hears an underground piper. His house has no upstairs. He celebrates stretcher bearers, bricklayers. Turns walls into air. He chooses red haws and whins, brogues and rigs, cripples with perseverence and we feel the work as we go along. He watches the pollen sowings tarnish her pools. He's mother nature's strong right hand and eye. God bless him.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By W. D. Davies on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THIS IS WHAT A 'SLIM VOLUME' SHOULD BE, HARD COVER,WELL BOUND, QUALITY PAPER, EASY TO SLIP INTO A POCKET AND SIP FROM AT ODD MOMENTS. WONDERFUL POEMS, LIKE A SERIES OF SNAPSHOTS - WHAT ONE EXPECTS FROM SEAMUS HEANEY, A VARIETY OF INTENSE, IMMEDIATE; SHARED MOMENTS, LIKE THE 'COLD SMOOTH CREEPING STEEL AND SNICKING SCISSORS' OF CLIP.
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