Seamus Heaney - Author

About the Author

Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry in Northern Ireland. He grew up in the country, on a farm, in touch with a traditional rural way of life, which he wrote about in his first book Death of a Naturalist (1966).
 
Seamus Heaney began to write in 1962, publishing first in Irish magazines. During the early and mid-sixties, he was connected with a group of writers in Belfast that included Derek Mahon, Michael Longley and James Simmons. Philip Hobsbaum ran a poetry group during these years and the poets met regularly at his house until he moved to Glasgow in 1966. After this, the meetings continued under Heaney's chairmanship until 1970, and in this later period were attended by younger poets such as Paul Muldoon, Frank Ormsby and Michael Foley.
 
Seamus Heaney has won numerous awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award (1968), the Denis Devlin Award (1973), the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize (1975), the American Irish Foundation Literary Award (1973) and the WHSmith Annual Award (1976). In 1987 he was awarded the Whitbread Poetry Award for The Haw Lantern.

 

In 1965 he married Marie Devlin and they have three children. He is currently the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet-in-Residence at Harvard University where he goes to teach for 6 weeks every two years. From 1989 to 1994 Seamus Heaney was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.
 
In October 1995, Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in August 2013.

Featured books by Seamus Heaney

Human Chain

Human Chain

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/06/2011

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, as lifelines to the inherited past. There are newly minted versions of anonymous early Irish lyrics, poems which stand at the crossroads of oral and written, and other 'hermit songs' which weigh equally in their balance the craft of scribe and the poet's early calling as scholar. A remarkable sequence entitled Route 110 plots the descent into the underworld in the Aeneid against single moments in the arc of a life, from a 1950s adolescence to the birth of the poet's first grandchild. Other poems display a Virgilian pietas for the dead - friends, neighbours and family - which is yet wholly and movingly vernacular. Human Chain is Seamus Heaney's twelfth collection of poems.

New Selected Poems, 1966-87

New Selected Poems, 1966-87

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/03/1990

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).

Other books by Seamus Heaney

Aeneid Book VI

Aeneid Book VI

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/09/2018

In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the importance of the poem to his writing, noting that 'there's one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas's venture into the underworld. The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years - the golden bough, Charon's barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.' In this translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and flawless poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of Bernard O'Donoghue, brought the ancient poem back to life in 'a miraculous mix of the poem's original spirit and Heaney's voice'.

100 Poems

100 Poems

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/07/2018

Seamus Heaney had the idea to form a personal selection of poems from across the entire arc of his writing life, small yet comprehensive enough to serve as an introduction for all comers. He never managed to do this himself, and no other edition exists which has such a broad range, drawing from first to last of his prize-winning collections. But now, finally, the project has been returned to, resulting in an intimate gathering of poems chosen and introduced by the Heaney family. In 100 Poems, readers will enjoy the most loved and celebrated poems, as well as discovering new favourites. It is a singular and welcoming anthology, reaching out far and wide, now and for years to come.

The Cure at Troy

The Cure at Troy

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/01/2018

Seamus Heaney's version of Sophocles's Philoctetes tells of the wounded hero marooned upon an island by the Greeks during the Siege of Troy. As the conflict comes to a climax, the Greeks begin to realise they cannot win the Trojan war without Philoctetes's invincible bow, and turn back to seek his help. The Cure at Troy dramatises the conflict between personal integrity and political expediency, and explores ways in which the victims of injustice can become as devoted to the contemplation of their wounds as the perpetrators are to the justification of their system. Responsive to the Greek playwright's understanding of the relations between public and private morality, The Cure at Troy is a sharp, fast-paced retelling of the Greek original, shot through with Heaney's own Irish speech and context. History says, Don't hope On this side of the grave. But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave Of justice can rise up, And hope and history rhyme.

Cure at Troy

Cure at Troy

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: eBook Release Date: 16/01/2018

Seamus Heaney's version of Sophocles's Philoctetes tells of the wounded hero marooned upon an island by the Greeks during the Siege of Troy. As the conflict comes to a climax, the Greeks begin to realise they cannot win the Trojan war without Philoctetes's invincible bow, and turn back to seek his help.The Cure at Troy dramatises the conflict between personal integrity and political expediency, and explores ways in which the victims of injustice can become as devoted to the contemplation of their wounds as the perpetrators are to the justification of their system. Responsive to the Greek playwright's understanding of the relations between public and private morality, The Cure at Troy is a sharp, fast-paced retelling of the Greek original, shot through with Heaney's own Irish speech and context.History says, Don't hopeOn this side of the grave.But then, once in a lifetimeThe longed-for tidal waveOf justice can rise up,And hope and history rhyme.

Aeneid Book VI

Aeneid Book VI

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/03/2017

In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the importance of the poem to his writing, noting that 'there's one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas's venture into the underworld. The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years - the golden bough, Charon's barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.' In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and flawless poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of Bernard O'Donoghue, brought the ancient poem back to life in 'a miraculous mix of the poem's original spirit and Heaney's voice'.

Field Work Faber Modern Classics

Field Work Faber Modern Classics

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/02/2017

Seamus Heaney was 'the greatest poet of our age' (Guardian). From his remarkable debut in 1966, he pioneered the poetry of our times across five decades of cultural and political change, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. Field Work, his fifth volume, from 1979, is a collection of poems that were among the finest he would ever write. Inspired by the four years that Heaney and his family spent in rural County Wicklow after leaving the violence of Belfast, Field Work is one of the poet's most celebrated volumes. The collection contains some of his best-loved poems, 'Oysters', 'Casualty', 'The Otter', 'The Strand at Lough Beg', and 'The Skunk', as well as his defining sequence 'Glanmore Sonnets'.

Aeneid Book VI

Aeneid Book VI

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2016

In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the importance of the poem to his writing, noting that 'there's one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas's venture into the underworld. The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years - the golden bough, Charon's barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.' In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and flawless poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of Bernard O'Donoghue, brought the ancient poem back to life in 'a miraculous mix of the poem's original spirit and Heaney's voice'.

Death of a Naturalist

Death of a Naturalist

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/01/2016

Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun. -- from 'Digging' With its lyrical and descriptive powers, Death of a Naturalist marked the auspicious debut of one of the century's finest poets.

New Selected Poems 1988-2013

New Selected Poems 1988-2013

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/10/2015

New Selected Poems 1988-2013 provides an unrivalled account of a period of work that was crowned by the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Together with its earlier, sibling volume, it completes the arc of a remarkable career. Shortly before his death in 2013, Seamus Heaney discussed with his publisher the prospect of a companion volume to his landmark New Selected Poems 1966-1987 aimed at presenting the second half of his career, 'from Seeing Things onwards', as he foresaw it. Although he was unable to complete a edition/selection, he left behind selections that have been followed here. New Selected Poems 1988-2013 reprints the author's chosen poems from his later years, beginning with his ground-breaking volume Seeing Things (1991), his two Whitbread Books of the Year, The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999), and his multi-nominated, prize-winning volumes, Electric Light (2001), District and Circle (2006) and Human Chain (2010). The edition concludes with two posthumously published works.

New Selected Poems 1988-2013

New Selected Poems 1988-2013

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/11/2014

New Selected Poems 1988-2013 provides an unrivalled account of a period of work that was crowned by the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Together with its earlier, sibling volume, it completes the arc of a remarkable career. Shortly before his death in 2013, Seamus Heaney discussed with his publisher the prospect of a companion volume to his landmark New Selected Poems 1966-1987 aimed at presenting the second half of his career, 'from Seeing Things onwards', as he foresaw it. Although he was unable to complete a edition/selection, he left behind selections that have been followed here. New Selected Poems 1988-2013 reprints the author's chosen poems from his later years, beginning with his ground-breaking volume Seeing Things (1991), his two Whitbread Books of the Year, The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999), and his multi-nominated, prize-winning volumes, Electric Light (2001), District and Circle (2006) and Human Chain (2010). The edition concludes with two posthumously published works.

Death of a Naturalist

Death of a Naturalist

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: eBook Release Date: 04/02/2014

Death of a Naturalist (1966) marked the auspicious debut of Seamus Heaney, a universally acclaimed master of modern literature. As a first book of poems, it is remarkable for its accurate perceptions and rich linguistic gifts.

Door into the Dark

Door into the Dark

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: eBook Release Date: 04/02/2014

Door into the Dark, Seamus Heaney's second collection of poems, first appeared in 1969. Already his widely celebrated gifts of precision, thoughtfulness, and musicality were everywhere apparent.

Crediting Poetry

Crediting Poetry

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: eBook Release Date: 13/01/2014

Seamus Heaney's Nobel Lecture, captured here in Crediting Poetry, is a powerful defense of poetry as "e;the ship and the anchor"e; of our spirit within an ocean of violent, divisive politics and "e;world-sorrow."e; Beginning with the "e;creaturely existence"e; of his childhood in a thatched farmstead in rural County Derry, Heaney traces his path in "e;the wideness of language."e; It is a way forged by listening: to the "e;burbles and squeaks"e; of BBC and Radio Eireann from a wireless speaker, to the triple-rhyme in a line of Yeats', but also to the sound of gunfire in Ulster and the keening desolation of all the "e;wounded spots on the face of the earth."e; Out of all these sounds Heaney discovers the necessity of poetic order--"e;an order where we can at last grow up to that which we stored up as we grew."e;It is poetry's ability to convey the forces of the marvelous and the murderous together, Heaney writes, that gives it "e;at once a buoyancy and a holding,"e; and persuades us of its "e;truth to life."e; Heaney's lecture not only finds a way of crediting poetry "e;without anxiety or apology,"e; but it persuades us, eloquently and gracefully, of the "e;rightness"e; and "e;thereness"e; of our veritable human being.

Haw Lantern

Haw Lantern

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: eBook Release Date: 13/01/2014

This collection of thirty-one poems is Seamus Heaney's first since Station Island. The Haw Lantern is a magnificent book that further extends the range of a poet who has always put his trust in the possibilities of the language.

La Livella a Bolla D'aria /the Spirit Level

La Livella a Bolla D'aria /the Spirit Level

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2013

Questa e una raccolta di 21 poesie del Premio Nobel per la Letteratura 1995, Seamus Heaney, tratte da The Spirit Level , nella traduzione italiana di Erminia Passannanti. L'espressione fortuna letteraria e particolarmente idonea a descrivere il percorso compiuto dall'opera di Seamus Heaney nell'arco di un ventennio. L'assegnazione del Nobel per la Letteratura, nel 1995, a questo autore, mentre rappresentava il massimo tributo a un'arte poetica che aveva saputo guadagnarsi un successo di portata mondiale, focalizzava l'attenzione dell'opinione pubblica su tutta la poesia irlandese contemporanea prodotta nel nord dell'isola, e dunque, in modo indiretto, sui primi seri tentativi di una sistemazione politica del conflitto civile in nord-Irlanda.

The Word Exchange Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation

The Word Exchange Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/04/2012

Featuring 123 all-new translations by seventy-four of our most celebrated poets-including Seamus Heaney, Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins, Eavan Boland, Richard Wilbur, and many others- this brilliant anthology infuses new vigor into Old English poetry (Library Journal). Presented in an authoritative bilingual edition, The Word Exchange is as fascinating and multivocal as the original literature it translates.

District and Circle

District and Circle

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2011

Seamus Heaney's new collection starts 'in an age of bare hands and cast iron' and ends 'as the automatic lock / clunks shut' in 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. Images out of a childhood spent safe from the horrors of World War II - railway sleepers, a sledgehammer, the 'heavyweight silence' of cattle out in rain - are coloured by a strongly contemporary sense that 'anything can happen', and other images from the dangerous present - a journey on the underground, a melting glacier - are fraught with this same anxiety. But District and Circle, which includes a number of prose 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. In a sequence like 'The Tollund Man in Springtime' and in several poems which 'do the rounds of the district' - its known roads and rivers and trees, its familiar and unfamiliar ghosts - the gravity of memorial is transformed into the grace of recollection. With more relish and conviction than ever, Seamus Heaney maintains his trust in the obduracy of workaday realities and the mystery of everyday renewals: Again the growl / Of shutting doors, the jolt and one-off treble / Of iron on iron, then a long centrifugal / Haulage of speed through every dragging socket. (from 'District and Circle')

Human Chain

Human Chain

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/06/2011

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, as lifelines to the inherited past. There are newly minted versions of anonymous early Irish lyrics, poems which stand at the crossroads of oral and written, and other 'hermit songs' which weigh equally in their balance the craft of scribe and the poet's early calling as scholar. A remarkable sequence entitled Route 110 plots the descent into the underworld in the Aeneid against single moments in the arc of a life, from a 1950s adolescence to the birth of the poet's first grandchild. Other poems display a Virgilian pietas for the dead - friends, neighbours and family - which is yet wholly and movingly vernacular. Human Chain is Seamus Heaney's twelfth collection of poems.

The Word Exchange Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation

The Word Exchange Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/12/2010

Encompassing a wide range of voices-from weary sailors to forlorn wives, from heroic saints to drunken louts, from farmers hoping to improve their fields to sermonizers looking to save your soul-the 123 poems collected in The Word Exchange complement the portrait of medieval England that emerges from Beowulf, the most famous Anglo-Saxon poem of all. Offered here are tales of battle, travel, and adventure, but also songs of heartache and longing, pearls of lusty innuendo and clear-eyed stoicism, charms and spells for everyday use, and seven hoards of delightfully puzzling riddles. Featuring all-new translations by seventy-four of our most celebrated poets-including Seamus Heaney, Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins, Eavan Boland, Paul Muldoon, Robert Hass, Gary Soto, Jane Hirshfield, David Ferry, Molly Peacock, Yusef Komunyakaa, Richard Wilbur, and many others-The Word Exchange is a landmark work of translation, as fascinating and multivocal as the original literature it translates.

Of Love and Hope

Of Love and Hope

Author: Seamus Heaney, Sir Paul McCartney, Chris Tutton Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/10/2010

The Testament of Cresseid & Seven Fables Translated by Seamus Heaney

The Testament of Cresseid & Seven Fables Translated by Seamus Heaney

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2010

The greatest of the late medieval Scottish makars, Robert Henryson wrote in Lowland Scots, a distinctive northern version of English. He was profoundly influenced by Chaucer's vision of the frailty and pathos of human life. His greatest poem, and one of the rhetorical masterpieces of the literature of these islands, is the narrative Testament of Cresseid, set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, which completes the story of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, offering a grim and tragic account of its faithless heroine's rejection by her lover Diomede, and her decline into prostitution and leprosy. A work of unreconciled Shakespearean intensity, the Testament has been translated by Seamus Heaney into a confident and yet faithful modern English idiom which honours the poem's unique blend of detachment and compassion. A master of narrative, Henryson was also a comic master of the verse fable; his burlesques of human weakness in the guise of animal wisdom are traced with delicate comedy and irony. Seven of the Fables are here sparklingly translated; their burlesque freshness rendered to the last claw and feather. Seven Fables and The Testament of Cresseid is an extraordinarily rich and wide-ranging encounter between two poets across six centuries.

The Testament of Cresseid & Seven Fables Translated by Seamus Heaney

The Testament of Cresseid & Seven Fables Translated by Seamus Heaney

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/06/2009

The greatest of the late medieval Scottish makars, Robert Henryson wrote in Lowland Scots, a distinctive northern version of English. He was profoundly influenced by Chaucer's vision of the frailty and pathos of human life. His greatest poem, and one of the rhetorical masterpieces of the literature of these islands, is the narrative Testament of Cresseid, set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, which completes the story of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, offering a grim and tragic account of its faithless heroine's rejection by her lover Diomede, and her decline into prostitution and leprosy. A work of unreconciled Shakespearean intensity, the Testament has been translated by Seamus Heaney into a confident and yet faithful modern English idiom which honours the poem's unique blend of detachment and compassion. A master of narrative, Henryson was also a comic master of the verse fable; his burlesques of human weakness in the guise of animal wisdom are traced with delicate comedy and irony. Seven of the Fables are here sparklingly translated; their burlesque freshness rendered to the last claw and feather. Seven Fables and The Testament of Cresseid is an extraordinarily rich and wide-ranging encounter between two poets across six centuries.

Collected Poems

Collected Poems

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 07/05/2009

This title offers a unique 15 CD box set of Seamus Heaney reading his 11 poetry collections in their entirety, produced by Radio Telefis Eireann, the Irish national broadcasting corporation. These include Death of a Naturalist , Door Into The Dark , Wintering Out , North , Fieldwork , Station Island , The Haw Lantern , Seeing Things , The Spirit Level , Electric Light and District and Circle .

Blooming through the Ashes An International Anthology on Violence and the Human Spirit

Blooming through the Ashes An International Anthology on Violence and the Human Spirit

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/03/2008

The twentieth century is frequently characterized in terms of its unprecedented levels of bloodshed. More human beings were killed or allowed to die by human cause than ever before in history. The impact of the century's carnage does not end at the lives that were taken; the atrocities continue to take their toll on those who survived, on those who bore witness, and on succeeding generations. Blooming through the Ashes features writings about this historic violence and its after-math in a global anthology that brings together the work of Nobel laureates Seamus Heaney, Toni Morrison, Czeslaw Milosz, Wole Soyinka, Elie Wiesel, Imre Kertesz, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Eugenio Montale, and Pablo Neruda. In non-fiction and fiction, these writers and others reflect on the litany of man-made violence that marred the twentieth century and that shadows the twenty-first: including the Holocaust, the Gulag, the Cultural Revolution, apartheid, repression in Latin America, genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, and 9/11.The texts are arranged thematically, rather than by event, in order to highlight the shared themes of memory expressed across culture and geography. Starting with visceral reactions to a violent event, chapters proceed through recognitions of loss, and move into statements of public remembrance through which future generations attempt to understand the impact of past violence.The spirit of this sweeping and important anthology is captured in the prologue by Seamus Heaney, who writes, Much of the literature of the past century is a de profundis on behalf of the desperate and the deprived in gulag or ghetto or township or camp, but in spite of its desolate content that literature has a positive influence; it has had the paradoxical effect of raising spirits and creating hope.

Beowulf An Illustrated Edition

Beowulf An Illustrated Edition

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/11/2007

Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf ?is the elegiac narrative of the Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. Drawn to what he has called the four-squareness of the utterance in ?Beowulf ?and its immense emotional credibility Seamus Heaney gives the great epic convincing reality But how to visualize the poet's story has always been a challenge for modern-day readers. In Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition, John D. Niles, a specialist in Old English literature, provides visual counterparts to Heaney's remarkable translation. More than one hundred full-page illustrations-Viking warships, chain mail, lyres, spearheads, even a reconstruction of the Great Hall-make visible Beowulf's world and the elemental themes of his story: death, divine power, horror, heroism, disgrace, devotion, and fame. This mysterious world is now transformed into one of material splendor as readers view its elegant goblets, dragon images, and finely crafted gold jewelry against the backdrop of the Danish landscape of its origins.

Beowulf

Beowulf

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2007

Beowulf, composed between the seventh and tenth century, is the elegaic narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel, and, later, from Grendel's mother. He returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid battle against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and living on in the exhausted aftermath. Heaney's celebrated translation honours what is remote and intuits what is uncannily familiar, at the end of the twentieth century, in this founding masterpiece of English poetry. Now, for the first time, the Old English text - which survived only in a single scorched manuscript, now held in the British Museum - can be read in conjunction with the translation on facing pages.

The Haw Lantern

The Haw Lantern

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/06/2006

Widely praised on its first publication in 1978, The Haw Lantern ventured into new imaginative territory with poems exploring the theme of loss - including a celebrated sonnet sequence concerning the death of the poet's mother - joined by meditations on the conscience of the writer and exercises in an allegorical vein.

The Rattle Bag An Anthology of Poetry

The Rattle Bag An Anthology of Poetry

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2005

Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, and conceived of as a collection of their own favourite poems, The Rattle Bag has established itself as the classic anthology of our time. Heaney and Hughes have brought together an inspired and diverse selection, ranging from undisputed masterpieces to rare discoveries, as well as drawing upon works in translation and traditional poems from oral cultures. In effect, this anthology has transformed the way we define and appreciate poetry, and it will continue to do so for years to come. Including writers from Shakespeare and Blake to Sylvia Plath and T. S. Eliot, The Rattle Bag is eclectic, instructive and inspiring at the same time.

The Burial at Thebes

The Burial at Thebes

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2005

Commissioned to mark the centenary of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 2004, The Burial at Thebes is Seamus Heaney's new verse translation of Sophocles' great tragedy, Antigone - whose eponymous heroine is one of the most sharply individualized and compelling figures in Western drama. Faithful to the play's time and place, The Burial at Thebes represents opposing voices as they enact the ancient conflict between family and state in a time of crisis, pitching the morality of private allegiance against that of public service. Above all, The Burial at Thebes honours the sovereign urgency and grandeur of the Antigone, in which language speaks truth to power, then and now.

Finders Keepers Selected Prose 1971 - 2001

Finders Keepers Selected Prose 1971 - 2001

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2003

Finders Keepers is a gathering of Seamus Heaney's prose of three decades. Whether autobiographical, topical or specifically literary, these essays and lectures circle the central preoccupying questions: 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 the contemporary world? As well as being a selection from the poet's three previous collections of prose (Preoccupations, The Government of the Tongue and The Redress of Poetry), the present volume includes material from 'The Place of Writing', a series of lectures delivered at Emory University in 1988. Also included are a rich variety of pieces not previously collected in volume form, ranging from short newspaper articles to more extended lectures and contributions to books. In its soundings of a wide range of poets - Irish and British, American and East European, predecessors and contemporaries - Finders Keepers is, as its title indicates, 'an announcement of both excitement and possession'.

Sweeney Astray

Sweeney Astray

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2001

Sweeney Astray is Seamus Heaney's version of the medieval Irish work Buile Suibhne - the first complete translation since 1913. Its hero, Mad Sweeney, undergoes a series of purgatorial adventures after he is cursed by a saint and turned into a bird at the Battle of Moira. The poetry spoken by the mad king, exiled to the trees and the slopes, is among the richest and most immediately appealing in the whole canon of Gaelic literature. Sweeney Astray not only restores to us a work of historical and literary importance but offers the genius of one of our greatest living poets to reinforce its claims on the reader of contemporary literature.

Electric Light

Electric Light

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/03/2001

Electric Light travels widely in time and space, visiting the sites of the classical world, revisiting the poet's childhood: rural electrification and the light of ancient evenings are reconciled within the orbit of a single lifetime. This is a book about origins (not least the origins of words) and oracles: the places where things start from, the ground of understanding - whether in Arcadia or Anahorish, the sanctuary at Epidaurus or the Bann valley in County Derry. Electric Light ranges from short takes ('glosses') to conversation poems whose cunning passagework gives rein to 'the must and drift of talk'; other poems are arranged in sections, their separate cargoes docked alongside each other to reveal a hidden and curative connection. The presocratic wisdom that everything flows is held in tension with the fixities of remembrance: elegising friends and fellow poets, naming 'the real names' of contemporaries behind the Shakespearean roles they played at school. These gifts of recollection renew the poet's calling to assign to things their proper names. The resulting poems are full of delicately prescriptive tonalities, where Heaney can be heard extending his word-hoard and rollcall in this, his eleventh collection.

Beowulf

Beowulf

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/10/2000

Composed towards the end of the first millennium, the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf is one of the great Northern epics and a classic of European literature. In his new translation, Seamus Heaney has produced a work which is both true, line by line, to the original poem, and an expression, in its language and music, of something fundamental to his own creative gift. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed, in that exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels between this story and the history of the twentieth century, nor can Heaney's Beowulf fail to be read partly in the light of his Northern Irish upbringing. But it also transcends such considerations, telling us psychological and spiritual truths that are permanent and liberating.

Opened Ground

Opened Ground

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/09/1998

This volume is a much-needed new selection of Seamus Heaney's work, taking account of recent volumes and of the author's work as a translator, and offering a more generous choice from previous volumes. Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996 comes as close to being a 'Collected Poems' as its author cares to make it. It replaces his New Selected Poems 1966-1987, giving a fuller selection from each of the volumes represented there and adding large parts of those that have appeared since, together with examples of his work as a translator from the Greek, Latin, Italian and other languages. The book concludes with 'Crediting Poetry', the speech with which Seamus Heaney accepted the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded to him, in the words of the Swedish Academy of Letters, for his 'works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth'.

The Cure at Troy

The Cure at Troy

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/02/1998

Seamus Heaney's version of Sophocles' Philoctetes is responsive to the Greek playwright's understanding of the relations between public and private morality. It dramatizes the conflict between personal integrity and political expediency and explores ways in which the victims of injustice can become as devoted to the contemplation of their wounded as the perpetrators are to the justification of their system. This play is the 1990 production of the Field Day Theatre Company.

Field Work

Field Work

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/01/1998

At the centre of this collection, which includes groups of elegies and love poems, there is a short sonnet sequence which concentrates themes apparent elsewhere in the book: the individual's responsibility for his own choices, the artist's commitment to his vocation, the vulnerability of all in the face of circumstance and death. 'Throughout the volume Heaney's outstanding gifts, his eye, his ear, his understanding of the poetic language are on display - this is a book we cannot do without.' Martin Dodsworth, Guardian

Wintering Out

Wintering Out

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/1998

'Seamus Heaney has gone beyond the themes of his earlier poetry and has made the giant step towards the most ambitious, most intractable themes of maturity. The power of this book comes from a sense that he is reaching out towards a type of desolation and of isolation without which no imagination can be seen to have grown up.' Eavan Boland, Irish Times 'Keyed and pitched unlike any other significant poet at work in the language anywhere.' Harold Bloom, Times Literary Supplement

Station Island

Station Island

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/1998

The title poem from this collection is set on an island that has been a site of pilgrimage in Ireland for over a thousand years. A narrative sequence, it is an autobiographical quest concerned with 'the growth of a poet's mind'. The long poem is preceded by a section of shorter lyrics and leads into a third group of poems in which the poet's voice is at one with the voice of the legendary mad King Sweeney. 'Surpasses even what one might reasonably expect from this magnificently gifted poet.' John Carey, Sunday Times

North

North

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/1998

In North Seamus Heaney found a myth which allowed him to articulate a vision of Ireland - its people, history and landscape. Here the Irish experience is refracted through images drawn from different parts of the Northern European experience, and the idea of the north allows the poet to contemplate the violence on his home ground in relation to memories of the Scandinavian and English invasions which have marked Irish history so indelibly.

Door into the Dark

Door into the Dark

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/1998

Originally published in 1969, Seamus Heaney's Door into the Dark continues a furrow so startlingly opened in his first collection, Death of a Naturalist (1966). With the sensuousness and physicality of language that would become the hallmark of his early writing, these poems graphically depict the author's rural upbringing, from the local forge to the banks of Lough Neagh, concluding in the preserving waters of the bogland and a look ahead to his next book, Wintering Out (1972).

The Spirit Level

The Spirit Level

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/1996

The poems in Seamus Heaney's collection The Spirit Level keep discovering the possibilities of 'a new beginning' in all kinds of subjects and circumstances. What is at stake, in poem after poem, is the chance of buoyancy and balance, physical, spiritual and political. Private memories, classical scenes, humble domestic objects - a whitewash brush, a sofa, a swing - are endowed with talismanic significance, while friends and relatives are invoked for their promise and steadfastness. Throughout the collection, Heaney addresses his concerns, which inevitably include the political situation in his native Northern Ireland, in a poetry that never ceases to be fluid, alert and completely truthful.

Seeing Things

Seeing Things

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/1991

This collection of Seamus Heaney's work, especially in the vivid and surprising twelve-line poems entitled Squarings , shows he is ready to re-imagine experience and to credit marvels . The title poem, Seeing Things , is typical of the whole book. It begins with memories of an actual event, then moves towards the visionary while never relinquishing its feel for the textures and sensations of the world. Translations of Virgil and Homer provide a prelude and a coda where motifs implicit in the earlier lyrics are given direct expression in extended narratives. Journeys to underworlds and otherworlds correspond to the journeys made by poetic language itself. From the author of The Haw Lantern , Wintering Out , Station Island and North .

New Selected Poems, 1966-87

New Selected Poems, 1966-87

Author: Seamus Heaney Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/03/1990

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).

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