Seeing Things
  • Seeing Things
  • Seeing Things

Seeing Things

by Seamus Heaney
     
 

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Seeing Things (1991), as Edward Hirsch wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "is a book of thresholds and crossings, of losses balanced by marvels, of casting and gathering and the hushed, contrary air between water and sky, earth and heaven." Along with translations from the Aeneid and the Inferno, this book offers several poems

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Overview

Seeing Things (1991), as Edward Hirsch wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "is a book of thresholds and crossings, of losses balanced by marvels, of casting and gathering and the hushed, contrary air between water and sky, earth and heaven." Along with translations from the Aeneid and the Inferno, this book offers several poems about Heaney's late father.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Heaney's most plain-spoken and autobiographical book to date. Here is the transcendence of Seeing Things, the simple and miraculous escalation from a sixth sense to a seventh heaven, the lovely delusive optics of sawing and cycling and barred gates. . . ."—Michael Hofmann, The London Review of Books

"[Reading Seeing Things] you feel what readers of say, Keats's odes or Milton's 1645 collection must have felt—the peculiar excitement of watching a new masterwork emerge and take its permanent place in our literature."—John Carey, The Sunday Times (London)

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Suggestively framed by the poet's translations of excerpts from the Aeneid and the Inferno , this collection combines Heaney's richly textured style with visionary intent: the desire to invoke his dead father. Just as Aeneas begs for one meeting with his dear father, so does Heaney (Selected Poems 1966 - 1987) , and much of the book records those glimpses. In the title poem he recollects ``That afternoon / I saw him face to face, he came to me / With his damp footprints out of the river, / And there was nothing between us there / That might not still be happily ever after.''18 Heaney's spiritual excursions, reminiscent of Dante's, to the ghostly past and underworld will remind readers of the difficulties of voyages of the soul: ``So draw no attention, steer and concentrate / On the space that flees between like a speeded-up / Meltdown of souls from the straw-flecked ice of hell.''84 Although readers may sometimes get lost in the windings of the otherworld so vigorously evoked, most will judge the journey well worth the effort. (Dec.)
Library Journal
With the shades of his father, Dante, Virgil, Yeats, and Larkin flickering at his side, Heaney embarks on a midlife journey into the interior. So tactile are his words, however, that the tagalong reader feels the sights as much as sees them, registers the ``Body's deep obedience/ To all its shifting tenses.'' If the territory encompasses the ruts and pinnacles of Heaney's imagination, it also winds through half-century old memories where ``cattle stood/ Jostling and skittering near the hedge.'' What centers the poet's amalgam of personal and literary past, spiritual aspiration, and love of the rough Irish earth is a language mined from the ``ore of longing,'' one that bruises, elevates, and ultimately transcends. Among living poets, Heaney is one of the very few who dares blend his voice with the chorus of Immortals, and one of the fewer still who earns the honor. Highly recommended for academic libraries and for public libraries with strong poetry collections.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374523893
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
04/01/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
1,337,683
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.28(d)

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