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9 Reviews
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly rich collection of poems
District and Circle is a great collection of poems and one of Seamus Heaney's best. These are lovely poems that celebrate and do justice to what is real and of importance in the world. They celebrate physical presence in life and nature. Heaney enables us through the texture of his words to renew our contact and contract with the world. The poems are life-affirming but at...
Published on 23 Jan 2007 by peter

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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not Great
Seamus Heaney's first collection of poems, "Death of a Naturalist", was published 41 years ago. "District and Circle" is Heaney's 12th volume of poems. It is the first collection of poems by Heaney that I have read. This obviously makes me very new to Heaney's work. Acknowledged as one of the leading poets writing in English, I approached Heaney's District and Circle...
Published on 8 Dec 2007 by Herman Norford


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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly rich collection of poems, 23 Jan 2007
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This review is from: District and Circle (Hardcover)
District and Circle is a great collection of poems and one of Seamus Heaney's best. These are lovely poems that celebrate and do justice to what is real and of importance in the world. They celebrate physical presence in life and nature. Heaney enables us through the texture of his words to renew our contact and contract with the world. The poems are life-affirming but at the same time the poet is not blind to darkness and mortality and chance, the things that are destructive of love.

Some of my favourite poems in this collection include: The Lift, Nonce Words, In Iowa, Quitting Time and The Blackbird of Glanmore.

This is not just a book to read, it is also a book to re-read and think about and absorb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read this collection, 9 Oct 2013
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This review is from: District and Circle (Paperback)
I was so sad to hear of the death of Seamus Heaney, a truly great poet. I bought this to mark the sad occasion as I had neglected to read these poems up til now. I keep them on my bedside table and read and contemplate on one each night.
Highly recommended.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eliot's scholar, 20 Jan 2007
This review is from: District and Circle (Paperback)
this is an innovative display of language from cover to cover; investing the reader's attention in areas we would usually overlook.

this collection has recently been described as 'exhilarating' by judges which awarded the t. s. eliot award 2006 to it, which celebrates the pinnacle of poetry. dark and mysterious, yet accessible and relevant; this book is essential.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye to all that, 11 May 2014
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Heaney is a "legen" in his own time (I'm sure he would forgive the cliche). He always comes across as a modest man and makes no exaggerated claims: he has nothin to declare except his genius. The poetry can and must be read over and over. Read and let it speak for itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars enjoy this!, 21 Sep 2013
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E. Grace "A book enthusiast" (UK and Saudi Arabia.) - See all my reviews
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I enjoy the poetry of Seamus Heaney as he writes with clarity and wonderfully descriptive language. He is down-to-earth, being able to see all sides of conflict in his own country.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Needs and expectations met!, 21 Sep 2013
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This review is from: District and Circle (Hardcover)
I am a big fan of Seamus Heaney and the book of his poems i received was exactly as described.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Aug 2014
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O. McGonagle (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Has all the qualities we expect even for the unexpected location.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not Great, 8 Dec 2007
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Herman Norford "Keen Reader" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: District and Circle (Paperback)
Seamus Heaney's first collection of poems, "Death of a Naturalist", was published 41 years ago. "District and Circle" is Heaney's 12th volume of poems. It is the first collection of poems by Heaney that I have read. This obviously makes me very new to Heaney's work. Acknowledged as one of the leading poets writing in English, I approached Heaney's District and Circle with some awe.

The of poems in this collection were published in other outlets before being brought together as "District and Circle". What holds them together and give them a sense of cohesiveness is Heaney's reflections and observations of ordinary things and activities that run throughout the book. In "The Aerodrome" Heaney reflects upon a specific place and the way it changes over time. In this poem Heaney's tone and attitude is one of concern and love for this place. There is a revealing line that says: "if self is a location, so is love". Take another example, the title poem, District and Circle. In this poem the ordinary activity of an under ground journey is presented in a refreshing manner that makes one pause for thought about the hustle and bustle of daily life.

These poems in the main appear to be very personal. They display autobiographical vignettes of Heaney's experiences. There are references to religion in the three poems under the heading "Out of this World", there is the keen observation of a mowing machine in the "The Iowa Snow", and there is the mischievous playful youth being surprised by nature in the poem "On the Spot". I marvelled at Heaney's experiences but found it difficult to empathized with him.

If there is a particular form that stands out in this collection, it is the sonnet-like poems. I say sonnet-line because although these poems have the required 14 lines they do not have any rhyming patterns. The sonnet props up throughout the book and it is here in particular that I think Heaney is at his best. He uses the sonnet to spring surprises upon us - see "The Nod", or sometimes to pin un down in the mundane everyday things and activities of life - see "A Clip".

However, these were not poems that reached out and engaged me emotionally. Instead, I was left with the impression of a master conducting an intellectual exercise and in full technical control of his material. Perhaps the best example of this is in two connected poems - "Poet to Blacksmith" and "Midnight Anvil". In these two poems one could hear the tone of the speaker's voice and grasp a sense of the rhythm of normal natural chatter. However, I felt shut out from what appears to be the setting of rural life.

The poems in this collection appear to me to be very insular. They lack universal appeal. Nonethess, in reading the collection, I marvelled at what appeared to be Heaney's attempt to forge a new language to present his subject matter - for example, the poems are littered with new compound words. I found the collection technically sound but in terms of subject matters addressed it lacked significance so for this reason I can only give it three stars.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Journey, 9 Jan 2013
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I do find Seamus Heaney paints great pictures with his words and even sad topics seem bearable in his hands.
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District and Circle
District and Circle by Seamus Heaney (Paperback - 5 Oct 2006)
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