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Field Work (Faber Poetry) [Paperback]

Seamus Heaney
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

8 May 2001 Faber Poetry

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

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Field Work (Faber Poetry) + Seeing Things + Death of a Naturalist
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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (8 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571114334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571114337
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland in 1939. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966 and since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations - including Beowulf (1999) - which established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. District and Circle (2006), his eleventh collection, was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize. Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008. In 2009 he received the David Cohen Prize for Literature. His twelfth collection of poetry, Human Chain, was published in 2010.

Seamus Heaney died in Dublin on August 30th, 2013

Product Description

About the Author

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966, and was followed by poetry, criticism and translations which established him as the leading poet of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year, for The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999). Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008; Human Chain, his last volume of poems, was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for Best Collection. He died in 2013.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 23 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
No day without lines from Heaney.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digging 15 July 2000
By "wizardry3" - Published on
With "Field Work" the metaphor of "digging" with which Seamus Heaney began his first volume of poetry ("Death of a Naturalist") has become a succinct and overarching symbol of his entire literary endeavour. In that poem "digging" comes to connote the agricultural roots of his childhood (and of the Irish people) but also the search for word-fodder that his poetry enacts. "Field Work" continues to explore these concerns in a powerful collection of poems. Here the deeply personal ("Glanmore Sonnets"), primarly poetic ("Elegy") and cautiously political ("Triptych", "The Toome Road") sit comfortably alongside one another. While Heaney (as the most famous voice in contemporary Irish literature) has been repeatedly criticised for his silence on the Ulster situation, this volume shows that (as in "North") he is able to deal with its complex issues without taking sides. Always his concern is for the impartial victim (the position he himself assumes, that of the "unmolested orchid" ["Triptych 1"]) and the place he or she occupies among the combatants. "Casualty" describes a friendly but laconic pub drinker (apolitical and an acquaintance of Heaney's) who was killed by the British for defying curfew. "Triptych 1" includes the description of "Two young men with rifles on the hill" - we do not know if they are Unionists or I.R.A., they are two sides of the same coin. Heaney's continual "digging" allows him to move beneath the emotive surface of events and to unearth their common history, culture, landscape, experience. In "Field Work" the very poetry with which Heaney draws these moments is itself a tool to pare bloody and partisan politics back to its single seed, the common root of the Irish field and furrow.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Field Work---Heaney not is Yeats successor, but conqueror 18 Nov 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Seamus Heaney, in "Field Work" makes accessible what is best about poetry and, especially, modern Irish poetry. Heaney's impact on modern poetry will certainly extend on into the centuries as he lays down his words in beautiful rythmic language, a language forgotten by many contemporaries, but coming back with many new poets. Heaney's protrait of Irish life, the "troubles", and just his love of people and the land makes this a must read not only for those who love good poetry, but wish to understand the beauty, people, politics, and history of a great people to be free. Heaney writes no bad poems, remains accessible to the occasional reader, and offers more than enough solid food for the critic and student of poetics to keep all happy for long after the read.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stays with you long after... 18 Dec 2000
By Gregory Bravo - Published on
This was my first exposure to Seamus Heaney and his work (other than seeing the portly fellow with his unkempt white hair walking purposefully around campus here in Cambridge.) It is still my favorite collection of his work. Like all previous reviewers, I will not critique any particular poem, but only give the volume what can be one of my highest forms of praise: The poems have such a resonance that they have stayed with me long after putting the book down. That is a rare feat, in any artistic genre.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of Art is Peace 10 Dec 2000
By Thomas E. Defreitas - Published on
"Old ploughsocks gorge the subsoil of each sense / And I am quickened with a redolence / Of the fundamental dark unblown rose." In the face of such mastery, we cannot comment or explicate, for fear of impertinence; we can only quote, and hope that something of the maker's joy communicates itself.

This was the third book of poetry that this reviewer purchased as a youth, the first two being Eliot's Four Quartets and Rimbaud's Illuminations. This book remains a favourite of ours, fifteen years after its purchase.

The Glanmore Sonnets occupy a central position in this slender but rich volume, as is fitting; it is perhaps Heaney's masterwork. The Elegy to Robert Lowell, the "welder of English" who composed "heart-hammering blank sonnets of love for Harriet and Lizzie" is also noteworthy.

There is much about the sectarian warfare of the troubled six counties of Northern Ireland, but like Dante (who appears via epigraph and translation in this book) Heane!y can transfigure the sins of his land into glorious language that is an exemplar of poetry's redemptive potentiality. "I think our very form is bound to change ... Unless forgiveness finds its nerve and voice."

There is much here about love, nuptial, natural, sexual. At the end of "The Guttural Muse," there is a couplet of exclusion from the joyful earthiness that the poet observes: "I felt like some old pike all badged with sores / Wanting to swim in touch with soft-mouthed life."

There is warfare and loss, violence and bliss, the joys of the flesh and the crucifixion of a country. But after reading the poems in FIELD WORK, the reader will doubtless share in Seamus Heaney's faith that "the end of art is peace."
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