The Spirit Level

Overview

The Spirit Level was the first book of poems Heaney published after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. Reviewing this book in The New York Times Book Review, Richard Tillinghast noted that Heaney "has been and is here for good . . . [His poems] will last. Anyone who reads poetry has reason to rejoice at living in the age when Seamus Heaney is writing."

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The Spirit Level: Poems

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Overview

The Spirit Level was the first book of poems Heaney published after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. Reviewing this book in The New York Times Book Review, Richard Tillinghast noted that Heaney "has been and is here for good . . . [His poems] will last. Anyone who reads poetry has reason to rejoice at living in the age when Seamus Heaney is writing."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is . . . not just a new book but a book with newness in it, as all Heaney's collections have been. It marks a sustained effort, not exactly to unite the two parts of himself and his cultural inheritance but rather to make the line between them more permeable than before."--Nicholas Jenkins, The Times Literary Supplement

"So many of [Heaney's] poems have become personal lodestones for us that reading this new book is like awakening to an experience both fresh and familiar. From his earliest poems, he has presented the ordinary sensations of the physical world radiantly, causing us to hear the 'clean new music' of a voice calling down into a well, showed us the 'sloped honeycomb' of a thatched roof or the tactile wholesomeness of 'new potatoes that we picked / Loving their coolhardness in our hands' . . . Thoroughly grounded as he is in what Richard Wilbur, using a phrase from religious texts, simply and memorably called 'the things of this world,' this son of an Irish farming family offers a vision that is a powerful tonic against the fin de siecle alienation and solipsism touted by fashionable literary criticism."--Richard Tillinghast, The New York Times Book Review

"Heaney's craftsmanship is at its most variable. There are poems that approach the sardonic leanness of those eastern European writers his essays so often celebrate. The fifth section of 'The Thimble,' for example, simply reads: 'And so on.' Elsewhere, the language may be layered extra thickly, with adjectives and nouns melding into foursomes."--Carol Rumens, New Statesman & Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374525118
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 385,797
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

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