Selected poems from a Nobel laureate
Seamus Heaney had the idea to make a personal selection of poems from across the entire arc of his writing life, a collection small yet comprehensive enough to serve as an introduction for all comers. He never managed to do this himself, but now, finally, the project has been returned to, resulting in an intimate gathering of poems chosen and introduced by the Heaney family. No other selection of Heaney’s poems exists that has such a broad range, drawing from the first to the last of his prizewinning collections. In 100 Poems, readers will enjoy the most loved and celebrated poems, and will discover new favorites. It is a singular and welcoming anthology, reaching far and wide, for now and for years to come.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)|
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A collection of 100 poems by Seamus Heaney, chosen by members of his family in memory of Heaney. In the introduction, we learn that family members chose poems that were their favorite, Heaney's favorite, or had special meaning to them. While I would have found it interesting to read a few sentences in front of each poem to learn why they held special meaning, that doesn't happen. Each poem stands on its own and invites the reader to enjoy them as individuals. Poems of love, life, and death as only Seamus Heaney could do them, the words are nearly tangible and bring the reader into the scents and sounds of each 100 worlds.
I could not delay reading this collection of poems any longer. After a couple of recent excursions into more modern anthologies, there was an impetus within to read a Ireland’s treasure, the sadly missed, Seamus Heaney. Prior to his death this prodigious poet was approached about a similar venture. It seemed respectful and appropriate that 5 years after he passed, his family helped bring his works together for this special selection of 100 poems. In a forward on behalf of the family, his daughter Catherine provides some background into how they chose just fragment of his lifetime’s work. It is a celebration, and will resonate with those who already adore his poems and win many new admirers. For my part, I was vaguely aware of some of the more well known verse from the ‘troubles’. I did not have a grasp of his range and extent of poetic voice. As the family recall; they miss that distinctive voice reading his poems and so I have subsequently listened to a few and this has added to my enjoyment. Here are classics: like Digging; Scaffolding; Two Lorries and my favourite Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. I also enjoyed: Miracle; District and Circle; St Kevin and the Blackbird; The Skylight andThe Railway Children. A traditional poet with and enduring voice. “Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple, He lay in the four-foot box in his cot. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear, A four-foot box, a foot for every year.” “After they shot dead The thirteen men in Derry. PARAS THIRTEEN, the walls said, BOGSIDE NIL. That Wednesday Everybody held Their breath and trembled.” “‘To be called a British soldier while my country Has no place among nations....’ You were rent By shrapnel six weeks later. ‘I am sorry That party politics should divide our tents.’” “Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives - Never closer the whole rest of our lives.” “She touched our cheeks. She let us touch her braille In books like books wallpaper patterns came in. Her hands were active and her eyes were full Of open darkness and a watery shine.” Read it and make your own mind up.
This is a lovely book—I wanted to race through it because the poems, each personally selected by Heaney’s widow and three children, are so beautiful, but I forced myself to slow down and give each one the time it deserves. (Even so, I still read it in four chunks.) If you’re already a fan of Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, this book will pull all your favorites (for me, “Digging,” “Mid-Term Break,” “Scaffolding,” “Casualty,” and “Postscript”) into one collection, and the chronological arrangement reveals how his poetic voice and the themes he addresses change and develop over time. For those readers not familiar with Heaney, this is the perfect introduction. In the Family Note at the beginning of the collection, Heaney’s daughter, Catherine Heaney, writes, “This collection is intended as a celebration of the extraordinary person who gave us these poems. He himself once said that he had begun to think of life as ‘a series of ripples widening out from an original centre’; we hope this book serves as a reminder of the power and vitality of his work, and a testament to its continuing life, rippling outwards with every new reader.” It deserves many of them. Highly recommended and one I will be buying many copies of as gifts. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
This book is about poems