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The Redress of Poetry: Oxford Lectures [Paperback]

Seamus Heaney
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Oct 2002
These lectures were delivered by Seamus Heaney while he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. In the first of them, Heaney discusses and celebrates poetry's special ability to redress spiritual balance and to function as a counterweight to hostile and oppressive forces in the world. He proceeds to explore how this 'redress' manifests itself in a diverse range of poems and poets, including Christopher Marlowe's 'Hero and Leander', 'The Midnight Court' by the eighteenth-century Irish poet Brian Merriman, John Clare's vernacular writing and Oscar Wilde's 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol'. Several twentieth-century poets are also discussed - W. B. Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop and others - and the whole book constitutes a vivid proof of the claim that 'poetry is strong enough to help'.


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571175376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571175376
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 479,378 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

Review

"Nobel laureate Heaney is a pastoralist with a strong and critical sense of history. His rich and earthy poems are about the life of the land of northern Ireland as well as the evolution of the heavily mythologized Irish identity. Heaney's sonorous lyricism stems from his love of the cycles of country life, the mystery of the sea, the satisfying rhythm of hard, physical work. But Heaney loves poetry and poetics as well as nature and expresses this passion in his forceful if demanding literary essays. This is his third book of criticism, and it contains 10 lectures Heaney delivered as professor of poetry at Oxford. In the title essay, Heaney explains how poetry balances the 'scales of reality towards some transcendent equilibrium.' After considering all the burdens contemporary poets carry, from the long tradition of the form itself to pressing political perspectives, Heaney still insists that 'poetry cannot afford to lose its fundamentally self-delighting inventiveness.' This viewpoint

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 since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations - including Beowulf (1999) - which have established him as one of the leading poets now at work. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. District and Circle was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2006. Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008. In 2009 he received the David Cohen Prize for Literature. Human Chain was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for Best Collection.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Highly recommended for anyone to whom poetry is important and feels that most criticism seems to miss the point.
These lectures were originally conceived and delivered as individual pieces, but as a collection they also provide an account and defence of Heaney's philosophy of poetry. Heaney deals with poems from the point of view of a reader to whom poetry is important as a means of understanding and coping with life -- for whom, as he says, poetry is "strong enough to help".
As literary criticism they are excellent (if eclectic), and are particularly valuable because they are free of much of the nonsense which creeps into academic commentary on poetry. This isn't to say that Heaney always makes perfect sense, and a couple of the pieces veer towards self-indulgence; nevertheless they are extremely readable, stimulating and -- an extremely rare thing in critical writing -- inspiring.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaney's Oxford Lectures 12 Sep 2011
By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Between 1989-1994, Seamus Heaney was Professor of Poetry at Oxford, a very prestigious Chair; three public lectures are expected each year and, although the linking thread is obvious, the lectures range over a wide area. Not all his lectures are published here, five of his fifteen are missing. However, there is enough in what remains to give great insights into his poetic preoccupations, the poetic imagination and the man himself.

" ... I now realize the overall them of the poetry I had been collecting here grew out of poetry I had been writing in the years preceding the summer of 1989 when my tenure at Oxford began. Poems and parables about crossing from the domain of the matter-of-fact into the domain of the imagines had been among the work that appeared in 'The Haw Lantern' in 1987 ..." (Introduction, P. xiii)

Redress of Poetry
Christopher Marlowe
Merriman
John Clare
Speranza
MacDiarmid
Dylan Thomas
Philip Larkin
Elizabeth Bishop
Frontiers of Writing

"Ever since Plato, poets have been a victim of the allegation that poetry is a useless thing and that it does not have anything to offer. And poets have always been trying to defend themselves. It is probably Heaney who has defended poetry the best" in chapter one.

Although not all the subjects will be to everyone's taste, there will be enough here to interest anyone with even a passing acquaintance with poetry; for those with an interest, there is enough to fascinate.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Enough To Help 23 Feb 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Redress of Poetry is a series of lectures given by Seamus Heaney at Oxford; in all of them, he examines poetry and how it can be strong enough to help the reader, to act as an equal force to the life lived by the reader. He looks at all kinds of poets - Dylan Thomas, Christopher Marlowe, Yeats, Wilde and Bishop - and of course talks about his own position as a Catholic from the Northern Ireland living in Dublin. In all the lectures Heaney is wonderfully informal and funny, while still solidly getting across how important and vital these writers are. The lecture on Thomas alone is a great lesson on writing and authenticity, and the last one, "Frontiers of Writing", makes a strong case that a nation is imagined by writers first - that language, poetry, opens up possibilities in nations as well as in people. Though he knows that words can't do everything, Heaney's affection for writing and writers is convincing. At his best, he made me want to go back to the poet and read more, and not many people can make me do that!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Heaney essays 22 May 2013
By joseph heininger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of Seamus Heaney's most discerning and enjoyable volumes yet. It is a must for all admirers of the poet.
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn more, love more 17 Nov 2013
By 1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Because I love and derive comfort from poetry. I have always felt that the Irish have a true poetic soul and
confirmed that opinion when I visited that lovely country.
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