District and Circle

by Seamus Heaney

eBooks of the Month Poetry

LoveReading View on District and Circle

Winner of the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2006. Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2006.

T S Eliot Judges' comment:
“Seamus Heaney’s District and Circle is a commanding, exhilarating work. In an outstandingly strong field, this was an exceptional collection of poems.”

On hearing that he had won the T S Eliot Prize 2006, Seamus Heaney said:


“There are many reasons to feel honoured by the award of this prize – the aura of T S Eliot’s name, for a start; the distinction of the previous winners; the quality of the other poets on this year’s shortlist; and the high regard in which the judges are held. When I called one of the poems in District and Circle ‘Anything Can Happen’ I wasn’t thinking that anything like this would happen to the book, but it certainly expresses what I’m feeling at the moment.”


Costa Book Awards 2006 Judges' comment: "Elegiac and contemporary haunting and haunted poems of immense intelligence and freshness."

District and Circle Synopsis

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')

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780571230976
Publication date: 05/10/2006
Publisher: Faber And Faber
Format: Paperback (b Format)

Book Information

ISBN: 9780571230976
Publication date: 5th October 2006
Author: Seamus Heaney
Publisher: Faber And Faber
Format: Paperback (b Format)
Pagination: 96 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Poetry,
Categories: Poetry by individual poets,

About Seamus Heaney

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. ...

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