This book of poetry from Irish poet Seamus Heaney is richly rewarding and warmly recommended.
His poetry has popular appeal and yet is serious and weighty – a rare combination. Especially enjoyable for students, perhaps, is his superb nature poetry His use of metaphor is breath-taking and his carefully chosen words appeal deeply to the senses. In “Blackberry – Picking” for example, a blackberry is a “clot” and a “knot” , a crop of blackberries “inked up” and “tinkled” into a pail , and eventually rotted due to a “rat –grey fungus.” Magic!
Heaney wrote wonderful poems about historical and political subjects, too. His poems are at times warm and sunlit and at times full of portent and chill. In ‘Punishment” , a sinning woman is hung and the wind “shakes the frail rigging” of her chest - yet she was once “flaxen – haired.” He has the ability to create extraordinarily powerful images by pairing unusual things together. Thus, in one poem a cow “plays harp strings of milk” into a bucket. In another poem Heaney’s first girlfriend is described as a “feckle - face , fox – head, pod of a broom, catkin – pixie, little fern – swish” – what a wonderful way of describing the flirtatious nature of this girl!
Read Heaney’s Poems. Unpeel the onion; find the next layer in the chocolate box. Discover the work of this outstanding poet! SM
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