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on 22 November 2013
I love Seamus Heaney's poetry and I have a few scattered collections - Stations, Death of a Naturalist - but I've recently treated myself to this because it covers most of Seamus' collections, from the first in 1966 right up to The Spirit Level in 1996. This gives a wonderful overview of the development of his work and it also includes his Nobel lecture 'Crediting Poetry'.

Seamus chose the poems to be included himself, weeding out ones he was no longer happy with and some of the poems were re-written, though the alterations are so minor it's difficult to find any differences.

All my favourites are there - The Forge, Digging, The Barn, Churning Day, and his prose poem The Stations of the West, which describes how he was sent to the Gaeltacht to learn Gaelic and hoped, perhaps, to learn something of the Celtic mysteries. These visions are denied the child, but there are other kinds of revelation. It ends:

'Neither did any gift of tongues descend in my days in that upper room when all around me seemed to prophesy. But still I would recall the stations of the west, white sand, hard rock, light ascending like its definition over Ranna-fast and Errigal, Annaghry and Kincasslagh; names portable as altar stones, unleavened elements.'

Other favourites are the poems about his childhood home, Mossbawn, political poems such as The Ministry of Fear, Oysters, The Skunk - his erotic poem to his wife, peeling potatoes with Mary Heaney in 'Clearances', then the beautiful Postscript, and finally Song -

'There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.'

Yes, that's it exactly - that's what the poetry does. Words like 'big, soft buffetings' that come at you sideways 'And catch the heart off guard and blow it open'.
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on 6 November 2013
I'm not much into poetry but after Heaney's death I saw a few tv programmes about him and thought I should learn more. I'm still no wiser about poetry, I suppose you either get it or you don't. I went to a school in N I where we learnt the English poets, not the Irish, an unbalanced system if ever. Anyway. As one who did the science thing rather than the literature I can say he has an amazing way with words and expression and often builds a tempo that powers the lot along in an engaging way. One has pause to thought. I have marked many poems and will return to them as time and mood permit.
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on 31 July 2016
Seamus Heaney's poetry is just magical, every line, every word, every thought process. He paints word pictures so vivid that you can be there in the centre of them, whether in the bog, the battle, or the pram.
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on 25 January 2018
Does what it says great quality just what I needed
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on 9 July 2013
Seamus Heaney is a great Poet. Recorder of real experience of the human condition. To all lovers of
moving and fine poetry.

This volume is long-awaited, and it covers a significant period of Heaney's output.
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on 17 April 2015
Seamus Heaney was such a lovely person and these poems reflect that.
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on 11 January 2018
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on 25 April 2018
Condition was good as expected. Price incredibly reasonable.
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on 24 October 2015
very pleased, thanks very much
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on 16 January 2015
He's simply the best. Since Yeats. And much better than Eliot.
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