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Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001 Paperback – April 16, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (April 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528782
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

In addition to his well-regarded verse, Nobel laureate poet Seamus Heaney has amassed a body of prose works over the last 30-plus years, previously published chiefly in three separate books. Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001, offers a "best of" (of sorts) as Heaney sifts through previous writings and offers a variety of strong works, from memoir to lecture transcripts to literary criticism.

Long regarded as one of Northern Ireland's premier contemporary poets, this volume shows us that Heaney has a sharp critical eye as well, giving us probing analyses of his literary mentors (such as William Wordsworth, Robert Burns, and W.B. Yeats), European poets (Edwin Muir, Philip Larkin, and Ted Hughes to name but a few), and other prominent European and American poets (T.S. Eliot, Czeslaw Milosz, Sylvia Plath). Additionally, Heaney includes pieces on the writing process and his evolution as a writer that are insightful and engaging. In "Recent Poetry from Northern Ireland," Heaney describes what the poet sets out to achieve:

In that liberated moment when the lyric discovers its buoyant completion, when the timeless formal pleasure comes to its fullness and exhaustion, in those moments of self-justification and self-obliteration the poet makes contact with the plane of consciousness where he is at once intensified in his being and detached from his predicaments.

Whether you're a fan of Heaney's poems or not, Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001 is an excellent critical resource--one into which it is well worth digging. --Michael Ferch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Ireland's most recent Nobel laureate offers up many old, and some new, critical and autobiographical essays in this invitingly capacious volume, which reprints most of his previous books of prose, from Preoccupations (1980) to the Oxford lectures in The Redress of Poetry (1995). The book, like its title, both "expresses glee and stakes a claim," as Heaney remarks. Subjects of glee (or appreciation, anyway) include several major (and some minor) poets, among them Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, John Clare, W.H. Auden, W.B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh, all examined in the literary criticism that makes up the second and longest of the book's three parts. Heaney as critic both offers insight into the makings of others' verse and shows how his readings of others' poetry (such as Clare's and Kavanagh's) have informed the making of his own. More general pieces examine, for example, "The Irish Poet in Britain" and the place of poets in the classroom. Part three collects recent book reviews and short magazine pieces, among them Heaney's memorial to Joseph Brodsky and his famous division of Paul Muldoon's oeuvre into "muldoodles" and "mulboons." Of equal or broader interest are the personal reflections in the volume's first section, which moves from the "secret nests" of Heaney's childhood to Belfast in the 1960s and the Irish peace process of the 1990s. Evocative, bedazzling and fruitful in its implications, Heaney's prose has become a necessary complement to his poetry.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Flounder on November 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a person of Irish descent, I am especially proud of Seamus Heaney's contribution to poetry and literature study. His voice is uniquely Northern Irish, but his understanding of that which makes language and literature deep spans the world--its ages and cultures. With a poet's vision, Heaney latches onto the resonance of words and images that explicate the human experience, in Icelandic sagas, Dante's verse, Milosz, or fellow Irish writers.
Heaney's aim in this collection of prose writings (some have been previously published and some are lectures) is to "celebrate and take possession" of poetry's excitement and exuberance. Each piece is autobiographical, in that his approach is not strictly the performance of formal literary criticism, but is rather the creative sojourn a poet can take into the depths of his own craft, to call the poetic spirit home. As he says, his central preoccupations are: How should a poet properly live and write? What is his relationship to be to his own voice, his own place, his literary heritage and his contemporary world?
Heaney's leading article is "Mossbawn," which describes the County Derry in the 1940's--as an 'omphalos' or navel which marks the center of the world--whereby one gets the sense that Heaney is a young Stephen Dedalus attempting to locate himself in Ireland, his community, and the world at large. His sentences are rich and carefully worded to evoke just the proper provincial image. He talks about his first forays in reading literature, rhymes, and the formidable Byron and Keats.
The next piece, "from Feeling Into Words" talks about the craft of writing poetry--his "Digging"--lines from Wordsworth. The next articles in Section I are interesting and special--on T.S.
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By Richard de Chicago on July 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bravo all around.....great book.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kendall on June 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of Heaney's essays and speeches puts a lot of Heaney's voice and his wisdom in one volume. The range of poets he discusses is wide ranging and his view is consistent.
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10 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Andy Zorc on June 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of Heaney's poems, but I'm very uncomfortable with his status as a "major" literary figure on the world stage. The title of this book says it all. Heaney's career, as poet as well as critic, has consisted entirely of finding and keeping--rarely of making. He has been very successful at appropriating and synthesizing the ideas and techniques of others (esp. Lowell, Hopkins and Yeats) into a satisfying if never very original whole. In choosing this title, he apparently now sees fit to congratulate himself for it. Originality may not be the highest quality--how many are ever truly original?--but somebody of Heaney's prominence ought to do more than just recycle the successes of admired precursors. "Finders Keepers" would be an apt name for his collected works as well, and far more honest than what it's actually called--"Opened Ground." In addition to the influence of the perennially confused Swedes, I think Heaney's outsized success is largely due to his comforting conformity to easily recognizable tradition--critics, especially those of a conservative bent, eat this kind of stuff up. If you want to read a real innovator, also Irish, who really opens ground--and for that reason will never have "Winner of the Nobel Prize" trumpeted across her covers--check out Medbh McGuckian.
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