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The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry (Penguin Classics) Hardcover – 30 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439457
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 6.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'...excellently edited, exceedingly confident, historically revealing and frequently surprising. The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry is a feat. It is the largest anthology of Irish verse yet spanning 1,500 years - and is more comprehensive than predecessors in its inclusion of a large quantity of pre-Yeats material and translations from languages other than Irish and Old English. A third of the 200+ translations are being published for the first time. It is, as Seamus Heaney says in the preface, the most confident anthology of the country's verse ... Patrick Crotty, the editor and a professor of Irish literature at Aberdeen University, should be congratulated for the precise, considerate and independent thinking he has brought to his selections." (Irish Times )

This is a magnificent anthology...The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry is so rich in its inclusions, so superbly organised, showing such breadth of scholarship and (in general) felicity of judgement...applause for a great achievement... (Patricia Craig Independent )

'This is the best available single-volume collection of Irish poetry yet published.' (Nick Laird Guardian )

'The great length of the anthology allows brave decisions...the discrimination, imagination, deftness and heft of the whole is masterful. Much more than an anthology, this is an alternative history of Ireland, in poems that burn into the mind - the newly minted no less than the canonical.' (Roy Foster Financial Times )

Heaney occupies his rightful place in the year's stand-out anthology: The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, edited by Patrick Crotty. From bards of the eighth century to Nick Laird (born in 1975), with ample space for translations from the Irish (over many centuries), for ballads and songs and rhymes, this sumptuous 1000-page gathering will last many winters out. (Boyd Tonkin Books of the Year, The Independent )

Patrick Crotty's Penguin Book of Irish Poetry threw a capacious net over many centuries, including a rich haul of wonderful new translations from the Irish, many by himself (as well as Heaney and others). (Roy Foster TLS Books of the Year Recommendation )

About the Author

Patrick Crotty is a Professor of Scottish and Irish Literature at the University of Aberdeen and a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement. His translations from seventeenth-, eighteenth- and twentieth-century Irish verse have appeared in many anthologies. He edited Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology and is currently co-editing with Alan Riach the annotated three-volume Complete Collected Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid.

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first book, appeared in 1966 and since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations which have established him as one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 28 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The literary reviewers say it all. It's beautifully produced, but heavy! I'm ordering copies for my siblings as I know they and their offspring will dip into it for years to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the perfect poetry book for all levels of readers, I have personally found some very touching, meaningful and funny poems in here. Many have forced me to do some research on the poems background, which is surely a good thing. Would make an excellent gift for the serious poet.
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By budge on 16 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant value for money for a hardback book; an excellent collection of poems beautifully presented. Would definitely recommend to all poetry lovers.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lara on 22 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Gill & MacMillan's Soundings is a better buy if you struggle to climax at every turn of page. While I enjoy poetry, I enjoy it all the better with a bit of narration, notes, direction and provocation. Over the last year, I've picked this book up twice compared to Soundings which I open several times a month.

But that's just one opinion. No doubt my ancestors would disown me reading this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, ably demonstrates Ireland's status as a literary superpower. 14 April 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In the preface to this book it states that "This is the most comprehensive and confident anthology of Irish poetry yet" it goes on to say that "The comprehensiveness is due to the inclusion of a much greater selection of work from the earlier periods, the confidence to the sureness about the artistic quality and significance of that work and of the writing done later, in the decades since the death of W.B. Yeats". This is a collection of writing that ably demonstrates that as a literary nation Ireland punches well above it's weight, especially when you take in the fact that the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland share a land mass that is only 84,421 sq km (32,595.1 sq mi), making it the third largest island in Europe, or about the size of South Carolina (82,931. sq km) and with a combined population only slightly larger, and yet it has produced amongst it's writers four Nobel Laureates. The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, features the writing of three of the Laureates - W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney (the fourth - George Bernard Shaw) as well as the poetry of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Moore, Patrick Kavanagh, Louis MacNeice, Eavan Boland and James Joyce to name just a few.

Poetry in Ireland is a genuinely ancient cultural practice, how ancient is hard to determine, although there is evidence to the existence of writing predating the arrival of Christianity early in the fifth century. This is the starting point of the book as over its one thousand or so pages it charts Ireland's literary culture through Christian and pre-Christian attitudes, to Gaels and Vikings, Nationalism and Unionism, Catholicism and Protestantism, the Irish and English languages, also managing to encompass Latin, Old Norse and Old French right up to the vibrant poetry of modern Ireland, celebrating around 1,500 years of this nations poetry and verse.

What makes this book really magnificent is that many of the verse translations were specially commissioned, with 250 new English translations by the greatest poets currently working, including Seamus Heaney (also wrote the preface), Michael Longley, Bernard O 'Donoghue and Ciarán Carson. Not counting Anonymous, this collection features over one hundred and eighty poets, and although you could quite easily play spot the missing poet, I think that is missing the point; yes there are several poets working today I would love to see in this collection, but then who do you leave out, my choice may not be yours and with this Anthology already at over a thousand pages, how much larger would it need to be to embrace all our favourites.

The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, ably demonstrates Ireland's status as a literary superpower, whether through those poems/verses that have only survived due to some monks recording of them or whether it is the poetry that still flows like molten lava from those poets writing today. This anthology offers a wonderful insight into a nation that somehow has managed to not only write as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, said of poetry "The best words in the best order", but have in the process influenced the rest of the world.
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