Read Selected Poems, 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney Online


Seamus Heaney was the winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize, and this collection reveals the range, sureness, and quality of his achievements. Includes the complete and revised version of his long poem, "Station Island," as well as a number of prose poems previously unpublished in the U.S. ...

Title : Selected Poems, 1966-1987
Author :
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ISBN : 9780374258689
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 273 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Selected Poems, 1966-1987 Reviews

  • Dolors
    2019-06-18 08:59

    Heaney’s poetry is more a voice than a style. It seems to have been written to be listened to rather than to be thoroughly dissected and scrutinized. The evocative tinge of children’s ideals and the brutality of a land divided by history and religion pulsate underneath the serene, almost romantic pace of his verses. In Heaney’s hands, poetry appears to be the only means of communication, the only possible language to capture past, present and vision. His words emanate in effortless streams of a semi-conscious state where remembered dreams and unadorned reality, in their all-encompassing rural splendor, keep an ongoing conversation that sounds too alien for the irrational violence that kills and persecutes whatever beauty the poet seeks to immortalize in timeless writing.What is the use of poetry then, in a world where tragedy, pain and relentless conflict tears people apart? The image of the poet seeking his own voice to describe the wonders of nature and calamity, tradition and war, myth and dogma, to exorcize his demons in order to reinvent his new meaning, should be enough of a response.Poetry defines the self. Poetry can be a conduit to understand life; its force is as powerful as that of love, loss or death.Poetry binds us together in an invisible net, greater than ourselves, islands cease to be isolated, the infinite is graspable, and landscapes become un-coded by water and ground founded clean on their own shapes, in all their extremity.”I followed the directions of Heaney’s road map and arrived at a place where there is nothing else to say; the roaring of waves and the abrupt cliffs will always welcome me back home.

  • مروان البلوشي
    2019-05-28 08:52

    موسيقى الشعر..موسيقى الحزن والفقد..همهمة الهجر والشعور بأن الروح التي تجمع وتوحد قد غادرت كل البلد وكل الشعب..قصائد مرهفة بلا أي مزايدات من هذا الشاعر الأيرلندي الحاصل على جائزة نوبل للآداب في ١٩٩٥...قصائد هايكو ولكن من أيرلندا وليس اليابان

  • Melanie
    2019-05-28 07:50

    ClearancesIn memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984 By Seamus HeaneyShe taught me what her uncle once taught her:How easily the biggest coal block splitIf you got the grain and hammer angled right.The sound of that relaxed alluring blow,Its co-opted and obliterated echo,Taught me to hit, taught me to loosen,Taught me between the hammer and the blockTo face the music. Teach me now to listen,To strike it rich behind the linear black.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-30 07:48

    Night Driveby Seamus HeaneyThe smells of ordinarinessWere new on the night drive through France;Rain and hay and woods on the airMade warm draughts in the open car.Signposts whitened relentlessly.Montrueil, Abbéville, BeauvaisWere promised, promised, came and went,Each place granting its name’s fulfilment.A combine groaning its way lateBled seeds across its work-light.A forest fire smouldered out.One by one small cafés shut.I thought of you continuouslyA thousand miles south where ItalyLaid its loin to France on the darkened sphere.Your ordinariness was renewed there.

  • Grace Sweeney
    2019-05-30 10:59

    “When all the others were away at MassI was all hers as we peeled potatoes.They broke the silence, let fall one by oneLike solder weeping off the soldering iron:Cold comforts set between us, things to shareGleaming in a bucket of clean water.And again let fall. Little pleasant splashesFrom each other’s work would bring us to our senses.So while the parish priest at her bedsideWent hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dyingAnd some were responding and some cryingI remembered her head bent towards my head,Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives –Never closer the whole rest of our lives.”“Tonight, a first movement, a pulse,As if the rain in bogland gathered headTo slip and flood: a bog-burst,A gash breaking open the ferny bed.Your back is a firm line of eastern coastAnd arms and legs are thrownBeyond your gradual hills. I caressThe heaving province where our past has grown.I am the tall kingdom over your shoulderThat you would neither cajole nor ignore.Conquest is a lie. I grow olderConceding your half-independent shoreWithin whose borders now my legacyCulminates inexorably.”Sparse, pious, Catholic.

  • Marc Mannheimer
    2019-05-21 07:44

    No fault of the author, but I had a hard time understanding a LOT of the language, the Irish colloquialisms. But the flow of the words was magnificent. A lot of intricate feeling and thought packed into each stanza.

  • Ryan Werner
    2019-06-10 04:37

    For a very select audience, this documentation of 21 years of Seamus Heaney's poetry career will be an enjoyable and cathartic journey through Ireland and its culture.As a retrospective of what is now the first half of Seamus Heaney’s poetry career, New Selected Poems: 1966-1987 (Faber and Faber, ISBN: 0-571-14372-5, 1990) does well in showing a man who rallied for not just justice and understanding for the working class, but the imagination and beauty within it.Stretching from 1966-1987, this volume collects work from Heaney’s first seven collections of verse: Death of a Naturalist (1966), Door into the Dark (1969), Wintering Out (1972), North (1975), Field Work (1979), Station Island (1984), and The Haw Lantern (1987). Also included are prose poems from Stations (1975) as well as excerpts from Sweeney Astray (1983), Heaney’s English translation of the legend of Irish king Buile Shuibhne.A Strong Sense of PlaceHeaney’s work has a strong sense of place. Any reader familiar with “salt-of-the-earth” types may expect Heaney’s dense stories of blue-collar Irish life to be easier to swallow. However, be warned that the weight of the work almost seems too condensed, as if there was a narrative thread running through each poem at one point, only to be removed later in favor of a more stated, “poetic” tone.Muddled ClarityThe early poems “Mid-Term Break” and “The Other Side” stand out because of their personal importance and focus on a sort of clever sadness. Heaney tries to imbed the woes and concerns of all of Ireland within every poem, and while a later poem such as “Hailstones” achieves a connection for the character and the country, there are more instances of the clarity being muddled from an attempt to pack a poem too full.The prose poems do not fare much better, as any sense of narrative is absent. The longer work – poems from Station Island, specifically – show more of a tie from poem to poem, but even then poems like “Chekhov on Sakhalin” and “Making Strange” suffer from their own overuse of the poetic statement.A Vocalized StrengthThese poems benefit greatly from being read out loud. A reader may find more power in the poems if she reads them audibly to herself (perhaps even with an Irish accent, like Heaney). To hear the poems brings out their best qualities: the smart line-breaks, the way Heaney unlocks the natural cadence in a piece of poetry, the emotion and timing of the language and the characters/narrators who use it.More often than not, these traits ended up working near the actual meat of the poem as opposed to with it. When Heaney can grasp both his craft and his point in his hands simultaneously, as he does in “Strange Fruit,” the results are quite good. While there are no offensively bad works in this collection, the results rarely transcend an audience of those who are interested in working-class Irish culture and history.

  • Michael
    2019-05-28 07:48

    Mid-term BreakI sat all morning in the college sick bayCounting bells knelling classes to a close,At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.In the porch I met my father crying--He had always taken funerals in his stride--And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pramWhen I came in, and I was embarrassedBy old men standing up to shake my handAnd tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,Away at school, as my mother held my handIn hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.At ten o'clock the ambulance arrivedWith the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.Next morning I went up into the room. SnowdropsAnd candles soothed the bedside; I saw himFor the first time in six weeks. Paler now,Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple,He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.A four foot box, a foot for every year.Dear Mr. Heaney:This poem brings me to my knees every time. The first time I read it was junior year of high school. There was a communal gasp as the last line left the reader's lips. I don't think any of us fully recovered.Thank you for that.Sincerely,MichaelP.S. "Digging" and "Bogland" are equal in beauty but much deeper.

  • Brendan
    2019-06-10 05:41

    "In the nineteen forties, when I was the eldest child of an ever-growing family in rural Co. Derry, we crowded together in the three rooms of a traditional thatched farmstead and lived a kind of den-life which was more or less emotionally and intellectually proofed against the outside world. It was an intimate, physical, creaturely existence in which the night sounds of the horse in the stable beyond one bedroom wall mingled with the sounds of adult conversation from the kitchen beyond the other. We took in everything that was going on, of course - rain in the trees, mice on the ceiling, a steam train rumbling along the railway line one field back from the house - but we took it in as if we were in the doze of hibernation. Ahistorical, pre-sexual, in suspension between the archaic and the modern, we were as susceptible and impressionable as the drinking water that stood in a bucket in our scullery: every time a passing train made the earth shake, the surface of that water used to ripple delicately, concentrically, and in utter silence."

  • Angela Paolantonio
    2019-06-09 09:01

    When I read a Seamus Heaney poem I run, sprint, to my desk and write.

  • Margaret
    2019-06-02 10:46

    1st book of poetry I read by Seamus Heaney. Other than the famous poems, it's an interesting book of poetry and I'd definitely read him again.

  • Danny Daley
    2019-05-25 08:56

    Once upon a time, I wasn't a fan of selected poem collections. I find that poems are as much a product of the collection they're in as they are a stand alone expression, so I've always avoided these "best of" collections in favor of their original context. My mind has changed on this, especially if, as is the case here, the "best of" collection was assembled by the poet in question. I saw, when reading, how Heaney created an entirely new context for these poems by assembling them in this way, and it brought fresh insight and a new experience to my reading of these poems. This project was split into two volumes, this one featuring poems from "north" and "Death of a Naturalist" (among others), which are my two favorite of Heaney's collections. For anyone looking to get a good overview of the first half of Heaney's career, this is an excellent book.

  • Matthew Pritchard
    2019-06-14 09:42

    At the comprehensive school I attended, for a young boy to admit to an enjoyment of poetry served only to guarantee him a one-way ticket to the bramble patch at the school gates. Despite this, I have loved poetry since my early teens, and Seamus Heaney has always been one of my favourites.Apart from Ted Hughes, I can't think of any poet who writes about nature with such passion. His use of metaphor and simile is incredible, and the musicality of the language transports the reader straight to the peaty, boggy, rocky world of rural Ireland - ironically, such is Heaney's talent with describing nature, he could probably have written a beautiful poem about a teenage boy floundering in brambles trying to retrieve his school bag from a stream while his persecutors laughed and threw stones at him. Highly recommended.

  • Kevin
    2019-05-21 11:59

    The early stuff is quite good, mostly because it's simply about nature and life and the things done in life and nature. Once Heaney seems to have made the decision to become an Irish Poet (TM), I lost interest. I can't fault him for making his poetry local or reflecting his experiences as an Irishman, but somehow it just wasn't that interesting to me, especially after the solid stuff earlier on in his work. The overtly political stuff is completely without interest to me, and not the sort of thing that makes for good poetry; it didn't work for Dante, for Milton, for Shelley, or for any number of poetasters of the last century. Politics in poetry is only manageable when it is masked in allegory, the way of The Faerie Queene or Absalom and Achitophel.

  • Kari Ely
    2019-06-09 08:47

    Heaney once said “Poetry is always somewhat mysterious and you wonder what is your relationship to it.” This collection had me wondering just that. There were several poems that puzzled me, and others that made the kind of resonating, innate sense that prose never seems to do. Filled with acute observation, memory, imagination, and a definite sense of place, Healey’s poetry is about his relationship with the world. As such I suppose the reader’s relationship to it will always be that of an outsider. A bit lost, but enjoying the view.

  • Ashley McKnight
    2019-05-24 09:48

    Few have mastered language like Heaney. Distinctly Irish, he captures the culture, the landscape, the ordinariness of rural life, as well as the deep pain that affects so many as a result of the Troubles. At times I felt transported back to an Ireland that is passing into the pages of personal history and memory.

  • Rebekka Hindbo
    2019-06-10 05:51

    Read for uni.

  • Persephone Abbott
    2019-05-31 10:55

    "When they spoke of the prudent squirrel's hoard, It shone like gifts at the nativity." Words that I so loved encountering, sighing a delicious sigh that someone wrote what I once or twice intuited back when sometime in my life a second or two ago, and then I look again at the page feeling validated.

  • Jenna
    2019-06-15 10:54

    This collection spans the first 21 years of Heaney's 47-year-long career as a published poet, sampling poems from all eight books Heaney published between 1966 and 1987 (he went on to publish five more books before his death in August 2013). All the most famous Heaney poems can be found here, including such beloved lyrics as "Mid-Term Break" and "The Underground" (the latter is a real mindf*ck of a poem, an urgently concocted puree of allusions to Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Grimm brothers' fairy tales, all servicing a desperately lonely little poem about the inevitable solitudes and separations that plague even the happiest of marriages). Heaney won his Nobel Prize in 1995, so you could say that this collection includes nearly all the poems that led to his win.Among the early poems, the "Bog Queen"/"Grauballe Man"/"Punishment"/"Strange Fruit" sequence is the strongest work: it's a weird but incredibly vivid sequence of poems about a bunch of centuries-old corpses that were discovered in a semi-mummified state in the peat bogs of Northern Europe. The architectural grandeur that Heaney's otherworldly, almost-mythic diction bestows on the human body in these poems reminds me, rather unexpectedly, of Sylvia Plath's work in The Colossus.From Heaney's mid-career collection Field Work (1979), I was most pleasantly astonished by "The Otter" and "The Skunk," two love poems remarkable for their simplicity, clarity, and intimate address.Heaney is celebrated for being a "poet of witness," a writer of stark elegiac poems about the violent conflicts wracking his native Ireland. The ways in which Heaney struggled with this role are laid out fascinatingly in the meditative multi-part poems "Singing School" and "Station Island." In a dramatic scene in the latter, the ghost of Heaney's brutally murdered kinsman rebukes the poet for not responding more proactively to the horrors he witnessed:"[The ghost said:] 'You confused evasion and artistic tact.The Protestant who shot me through the headI accuse directly, but indirectly, youwho now atone perhaps upon this bedfor the way you whitewashed ugliness and drewthe lovely blinds of the Purgatorioand saccharined my death with morning dew...'"Is poetry an inherently inadequate response to such violent atrocities as war and totalitarianism? Heaney's earnest efforts to find a satisfactory answer to this timeless question make this book an essential, thought-provoking read.

  • Bruce
    2019-06-12 08:58

    This selection from the first twenty-one years of Seamus Heaney’s work includes the sonnet sequences, “Clearances” and, my favorites, “Glanmore Sonnets.” There are, of course, many more poems included here. Heaney is a poet deeply rooted in the story of his life, and he brings to life his childhood in Northern Ireland with vivid intensity. Indeed, never does he stray far from Ireland in his work, and we are the richer for it. Always it is the particularity of what he muses upon that strikes the reader. Not shy about addressing abstract themes, Heaney is nonetheless the master of soil, of rocks, of seascape and farm implements, of butter churns and religious faith and practice in his native land. Words are important – their sound in the voice, their feel on the tongue, their appearance on the page. Heaney is, inter alia, a poet for those in love with language. And his rootedness in a particular culture, in a particular place in space and history, brings life to all that his pen and voice touch and address. And consequently the reader gains a fresh experience of Ireland, the Troubles, the geography and history of a people.There are many recordings available of Heaney reading his poetry, and it is well worth it to listen to them, for hearing the poems read aloud in his own voice brings added pleasure.

  • Jogle
    2019-05-22 11:37

    Having only previously read two collections of poetry, and these being “Nation’s favourites…” books a la various artists, I came across this Nobel winners collection by way of a ‘Book Night’ distributed copy. I know so little about poetry and so delicately picked at this book over a number of weeks. Some poems are very famous and instantly absorbing (Mid-Term Break and Digging), but for poetry amateurs some will appear more complex, almost academic. Heaney stays close to his Irish roots with the conflict of nationality and religion, urban and rural never far from the sub text. Irish tradition and folklore are woven into his feelings for his country and upbringing. I don’t pretend to understand a lot of his work, which does require a degree of background research and study, but even to poetry virgins like myself you can feel a wonderful command of words and emotion that effortlessly lets you feel the texture of the writers thought.Tempts me to buy a copy of Beowulf and to read other poets a little bit. That in itself is surely a minor triumph for Mr Heaney.

  • Roger DeBlanck
    2019-05-27 09:36

    Seamus Heaney’s poetry has taken the history, the culture, and the landscape of his Irish homeland and transformed them into his own mythology. With the use of rare, oftentimes archaic, and yet beautiful language, his verse exalts the natural world and the lives of ordinary, hardworking Irish folk. The ethics of his poetry also focus on the political and religious divisions that have led to bloody violence in his country, both past and present. Heaney’s poetry convinces readers that there is more to see and understand than meets the senses as he uncovers the workings of an unseen spirit in the world. The poems selected for this volume give an excellent representation of Heaney’s vision. However, some of his poetry collections, such Death of a Naturalist and Station Island, deserve to be read in their entirety to gain the full range of his vision, which only a specific volume can provide. In 1995 Heaney’s achievements allowed him to become the first Irish writer since Samuel Beckett to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  • JT
    2019-06-18 07:01

    if i only understood certain words of Seamus Heaney, the prominent Irish bar I'd offer him more stars.. his style of verse is quite original. he tackles subjects from an ethnic, sociological, & spiritual level. there is an emphasis on the daily life in Ireland, especially in places like Derry, Donegal, Dublin, & Mourn. he is a heavyweight writer. death is a reoccurring theme as is hobbies such a lough fishing. his vocabulary resembles the russian novelist nabokov. it is rich and lush and meanders quite frequently like a stream of lines. overall, Seamus Heaney masters the elements & admires Nature in a manner that is striking yet comforting too. i was quite intrigued on how his structure of naming Stations in various stages to identify poems. As he grew older, the articulation was not as apparent. i felt like i could digest his heavy vernacular in spurts.

  • Evelyn
    2019-06-04 11:42

    I didn't study much poetry in my English Lit classes, so I've been reading through some of the classics, both old and contemporary, over the years. I've been dipping in and out of this volume of Seamus Heaney's poems for a while now and I've finally, finally finished it!Some of his work appealed to me, whereas others just felt very repetitive. I liked his strong recurrent themes such as his praise of the working class and his comments on social injustice, but I did feel like I didn't understand some it because I'm not Irish and haven't read up on a lot of Irish history. Still, two firm favourites that I picked out of this volume were 'Mid-Term Break' and 'The Other Side' which really stuck in my head long after I'd closed the book.

  • Ancestral Gael
    2019-06-16 10:58

    I have to admit my disappointment with this book. I like poetry, I really do. Like art, I don't know much about it, but I know what I like. I found most of the poems unappealing apart from the "Sweeney" material and three others: "North", "Song" and "Sloe Gin". Now, given the length of the book (240 pages) and the body of work it contains I find it surprising that I could not connect more to what I was reading; rather I was left feeling inadequate and confused. Why couldn't I understand what Mr Heaney was attempting to convey to me, the reader? I was left feeling that Mr Heaney writes for a more sophisticated audience than myself. Still, we each have our own tastes and "New Selected Poems: 1966-1987" just didn't do it for me.

  • Andrew Kramcsak
    2019-05-23 08:41

    I notice there is nothing in between not like and like it on the rating apparatus. This is a problem with ol' Seamus for while I didn't hate the poems (and I've been known to cry with white hot hatred over poetry I quibble with) I honestly cannot remember a single one. I know Ireland was mentioned, it was (at best) partly cloudy skies throughout the book and lots of manual labor was going on, but a Nobel Prize? Really? This seems to be the case of the working class poet who keeps his nose to the grindstone (ha! I bet that was in there) for a few decades and is awarded with shiny things for his work ethic. I can think of no other reason for the acclaim.

  • Siria
    2019-06-03 04:02

    Several of these poems are now very familiar to Irish schoolchildren—"Digging", for example, and the moving "Mid Term Break." Some of these poems—to with Irish history, landscape, the good and bad aspects of living in a close-knit rural community—I found really wonderful and spoke to my own experiences growing up. Heaney has a real gift for striking imagery, and his language begs to be read aloud. Other poems were more opaque to me, and even after working at them I'm not sure that I really understood what Heaney was trying to get at. Still, taken as a whole this is a collection well worth reading.

  • T P Kennedy
    2019-06-13 12:04

    It's a lovely selection of some of Heaney's best mid career poems. What's not to like? It doesn't have the unity of a collection but then again there's no weak or less interesting poems. Many of those included are among his best. It's lyrical, gentle but shot through with intelligence and wit. There's many layers to these seemingly simple verses.

  • Kirsten McKeown
    2019-05-27 04:00

    If you are not familiar with his work, I humbly suggest that you celebrate the life of this great writer with this collection. Even if you don't think of yourself as a poetry reader, give it a peek. It has informed my reading of all poems--and so I can't conceive of never having had the great fortune to have had it placed in my hands.

  • Ken French
    2019-06-13 08:03

    Not only is this a great collection, but I had my copy signed and inscribed by Heaney after a reading at Jersey City State College in the mid-90s. He was pleased that I was the only person who brought my own book (as opposed to buying one there) and commented that I had bought it "across the pond" (it was a UK edition that I had purchased at the Killarney Bookstore in 1994).