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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong
Returning to this book some ten years after I first encountered Seamus Heaney (under the inescapably unfortunate constellation of GCSE English coursework) I was a little unsure what I would encounter. Those first readings of "Mid-term Break" left me slightly puzzled: these were clearly moving, often quite funny stories, but I didn't "get" the poetry. I couldn't tell...
Published on 28 Mar 2008 by William Burn

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3.0 out of 5 stars A Rural Childhood
I am a bit of a philistine when it comes to poetry. I don't really "get" it and I don't understand a lot of it. I recently read an anthology of Ted Hughes poems and I thought most of it was incomprehensible gibberish. "Death of a Naturalist" is a lot easier to get into than that book. Most of the poems are about the poets rustic upbringing and they are...
Published 1 month ago by L. Davidson


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong, 28 Mar 2008
By 
William Burn "gingerburn" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Paperback)
Returning to this book some ten years after I first encountered Seamus Heaney (under the inescapably unfortunate constellation of GCSE English coursework) I was a little unsure what I would encounter. Those first readings of "Mid-term Break" left me slightly puzzled: these were clearly moving, often quite funny stories, but I didn't "get" the poetry. I couldn't tell what it was that Heaney was doing with language. In short, it all seemed a little, well, pointless.

But now, rather older, and maybe a little wiser (though that's hardly a great improvement: I was a particularly useless example of a 15 year old boy), I find in Heaney a stunning ability to weave language into something that is far more than the sum of its parts. There is a denseness to his poetry, not in the sense of obscurantism or difficulty, but in the sound it makes when you read it, in the weight of the syllables in your mouth, that sets him apart from any other poet I know. And this is not to claim some sort of affective fallacy, whereby the weight of his verse evokes the weight of the Irish soil, but to mark his writing out as something more firm, more resilient, than texts that could be so easily dismissed by a rather glib, arrogant young man.

And now I turn again and again to Heaney, seeing in his writing great thought, close observation and honesty, and I am grateful for the time that has passed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digging for Fire, 24 April 2009
This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Paperback)
I first encountered Seamus Heaney as a 22 year old completing an ACCESS to university course. I was immediately impacted by the simplicity and hidden depths within; Heaney's genius lies in his familiarity with the everyday and his ability to confront our preconceptions with poetry that appears rough and ready but which is in fact beauty wrapped up in dirt and the mundanity of everyday life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow !, 31 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Kindle Edition)
Amazing ! Wondered what all the fuss was about ? Read this ! The man is an artist with words and it will get you interested in poetry.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Rural Childhood, 17 July 2014
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Paperback)
I am a bit of a philistine when it comes to poetry. I don't really "get" it and I don't understand a lot of it. I recently read an anthology of Ted Hughes poems and I thought most of it was incomprehensible gibberish. "Death of a Naturalist" is a lot easier to get into than that book. Most of the poems are about the poets rustic upbringing and they are fairly comprehensible .I recall studying a number of them for my English Literature GCE "O" Level in the early 1980's , such as "Digging", "Follower" , "Docker" and "Death of a Naturalist". However I can't say that I really enjoyed reading these poems but I'll persevere with my poetry reading anyhow.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The poems are slow, deep, reflective and brilliant., 8 Feb 2006
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This review is from: Death of a naturalist (Paperback)
In Heaney's early work Heaney struggles to follow men like his ancestors, and rhymes anout a alust fro childhood innocence. The older Heaney uses the voice of the peat bog where the ground speaks with a voice, Heaney's conscious voice. The poems are meant for introspection as they open inwards to a dark place where Heaney can see and discuss the 'cured wound' of a Northern Irish Roman Catholic in the midst of Northern Ireland's conflict.
Seamus Heaney's first collection of poems is an accessible and understated experiment in lyrical description. It was written in 1966 and what first strikes us now is an adherence to metrical and rhyming (usually off-rhyming) patterns which are today considered undesirably strict. Much of the time Heaney smacks of Larkin - without (for this reader) the touch of Larkin's charismatic individuality. But one quickly appreciates the earnest craftsmanship of these poems. Indeed Heaney's characteristic equation of poetry with 'working', 'labouring', etc. is evident throughout these early pieces. 'Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I'll dig with it.': there are many instances here of words being forged or moulded or indeed excavated to create a construct of sincere meaning.
This is what poetry is all about. Heaney has a strong, unambiguously masculine voice that can, at times, sound like sixteenth-century verse ('Scaffolding' reads like a latterday metaphysical poem). Elsewhere - despite a perhaps enervating lack of humour and whimsicality (although, on consideration, it is by no means a total lack) - these poems sound confident, clear-sighted and sensitive in the way that we see all men of the land as (stubbornly, gruffly) sensitive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect, 19 Jun 2014
This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Paperback)
I read this again recently after many years. It's a beautiful book of poetry and still stands head and shoulders above so much poetry written today. No rhyming couplets here - note to so-called poets selling their wares on here - just raw emotion. Blackberry picking remains my favourite poem and takes me back to days of study. Ah...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poet, 7 April 2014
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This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Kindle Edition)
Typical Heaney feel as though you are with him when he describes the life events in such great clarity. Love it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great realy poems by Heaney, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Kindle Edition)
This is an excellent set of poems - though some in the middle of the collection are less impressive. Overall well wprth reading and going back to.
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4.0 out of 5 stars seamus heaney., 21 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Kindle Edition)
not for everyone i suspect but my advice to a reader who is unsure of Heaneys poetry is to persevere.Read in a quiet room without distractions;relax and take it as it comes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful anthology, alas too short, 19 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Death of a Naturalist (Kindle Edition)
I found it was just a brilliant collection of his poems,which made me want to buy more of his books.
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Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney
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