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Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996 Paperback – October 25, 1999
The Secret Healer
In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited. But spirited young Madlen can't resist her gift for healing, even if it puts her life in danger. Learn More
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At the same time, his Ireland is the site of "neighborly murders," and the past and larger world he confronts is one threatened by history and brutal sectarianism. Heaney has declared, "Fear is the emotion that the muse thrives on. That's always there"--and terror is pervasive in his "land of password, handgrip, wink and nod, / Of open minds as open as a trap." Many of his poems that explore the Troubles reflect his own considerable concern that he has long "confused evasion and artistic tact." Others might be termed self-reflexive, since Heaney uses them to unearth his own role. "Kinship" features a simple, brilliant (not to mention canine!) simile:
I step through originsIn a later poem, "From the Frontier of Writing," he compares the struggle for inspiration to being stopped at a roadblock: "And everything is pure interrogation / until a rifle motions you and you move / with guarded unconcerned acceleration." Heaney's gift is dazzling, and would be almost unbearable were it not matched by vigilance, self-doubt, and regret--and his longing for the day in which "justice can rise up / And hope and history rhyme." --Kerry Fried --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
like a dog turning
its memories of wilderness
on the kitchen mat.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This hefty, 440-page volume gathers together a pruned-down version of each of the author's ten volumes of poetry, plus extracts from his verse play, The Cure at Troy, his translation of the Irish epic poem, Sweeney Astray, and his Nobel Prize lecture, "Crediting Poetry." In 1975, poet Robert Lowell dubbed Heaney "the greatest Irish poet since W.B.Yeats." This volume proves that claim, perhaps too hasty a judgement in 1975, to be fully justified.
One of the most appealing aspects of the early poetry is the dense, tactile language used to evoke scenes of nature on the family farm, often conveyed from the point of view of the small child, and the poems are full of a child's freshness of perception. Farmyard and barnyard, cows, bulls, rats, sheds, wells, rakes, ploughs, and pitchforks appeared in vivid detail in this rural poetic landscape, in which the speaker experienced his solitary epiphanies. Farm workers and rural artisans, including thatchers, ploughmen and even water diviners were transformed into artists in their own right, and as alter egos of the poet himself
In the 1970s, Heaney began to write more directly about the Irish landscape, particularly the marshy bogs, that became emblematic for him of the Irish national consciousness.Read more ›
Heaney is a word-smith. For example, "The Forge" is a sonnet that embraces the scope of poetic creativity and power: "All I know is a door into the dark...."
Heaney's work is uncompromising and unparalleled in its depth. It can be justly compared to Milosz, or even a Yeats. Heaney is introspective, careful, and most importantly, sincere. Every word on the page counts; every word reverberates and shimmers with life, death, and modest negotations with an often hostile political landscape. His poetic vision is transcendental.
This anthology includes Heaney's Nobel Prize Speech: "Crediting Poetry," which is incredibly beautiful and thought-provoking. Some of my favorite poetic images are included here, involving blackberries, frogs, funerals, marital meditations, early morning military manuevers, potato peeling, and a mother ironing....
I highly recommend this anthology. It is beautiful and exciting; Heaney's verse will raise the hair on the back of your neck, as well as electrify your soul.
Heaney was that rare event: a great writer, a great man. He taught. He mentored. He praised. He parented. And still did the internal work that led to a book of selected poems that topped 400 pages. "Seamus never had a sour moment, neither in person nor on paper," said the playwright Tom Stoppard. "You couldn't help loving him any more than you could help reading on from the first line."
The life, in brief: Born in Northern Ireland, in 1939, the eldest of nine children. (A younger brother, age four, was killed by a car. His poem about the death ends: "Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple/ He lay in the four foot box as in a cot./ No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear./ A four foot box, a foot for every year.") He won a scholarship to a school that nourished him, earned a college degree in English, taught, married, wrote. In college, he said of his writing, "I was just kicking the ball around the penalty area, not trying to shoot at the goal. Then in 1962 the current began to flow."
The Heaney poems you may have seen quoted mostly describe a world as foreign to us as the moon, a rural world of lorries, peat, wells, animals and the heavy tread of the Church. As he describes it in his Nobel Prize speech:
"...in rural Co. Derry, we crowded together in the three rooms of a traditional thatched farmstead and lived a kind of den-life which was more or less emotionally and intellectually proofed against the outside world.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the United States, Goethe is a writer more admired by reputation than loved by being read. I hope this excellent anthology makes new reading lovers for him.Published 1 day ago by Virko Baley
It's a wonderful selection. I just enjoy picking up the book and reading poetry from different places.Published 8 days ago by bluehorse
astounding work of art. In my top three poetry works of the last 100 years.Published 11 months ago by Charles Ferraro
Seamus Heaney is a great poet, in my mind of the Robert Frost type. With Frost, New England came clearly through; with Heaney it is Ireland. Read morePublished 18 months ago by James Ellsworth
Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, left the world a better place. His death in 2013 was a blow to all who love his work. Read morePublished 23 months ago by K. Holjes
Some of the most moving and heartfelt poetry from one of the greatest poets of our time. A must read. Read morePublished on May 19, 2014 by Liz