Read North by Seamus Heaney Online

north

With this collection, first published in 1975, Heaney located a myth which allowed him to articulate a vision of Ireland--its people, history, and landscape--and which gave his poems direction, cohesion, and cumulative power. In North, the Irish experience is refracted through images drawn from different parts of the Northern European experience, and the idea of the northWith this collection, first published in 1975, Heaney located a myth which allowed him to articulate a vision of Ireland--its people, history, and landscape--and which gave his poems direction, cohesion, and cumulative power. In North, the Irish experience is refracted through images drawn from different parts of the Northern European experience, and the idea of the north allows the poet to contemplate the violence on his home ground in relation to memories of the Scandinavian and English invasions which have marked Irish history so indelibly....

Title : North
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780571105649
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 73 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

North Reviews

  • Davide
    2019-03-19 01:41

    «The King in the North!»Dopo due poesie di dedica, alla moglie, il libro è diviso in due parti.Nella prima dominano le famose boglands di Heaney: «Pantano, palude, acquitrino: | i regni melmosi | possedimenti dei sangue-freddo», con frequente sovrapposizione tra paesaggio e corpo umano (femminile ma non solo).La prima lettura non è facile, per la scelta dei termini e delle immagini. E tutto sommato anche le poesie più celebrate non mi catturano quanto alcune del precedente Door into the Dark.Nella Part II, dai terreni paludosi da cui riemergono violenze del passato (vichingo, ad esempio), si passa alle violenze presenti; scontri di fazioni e odio dell’Irlanda del Nord contemporanea: «all around us […] the ministry of fear». Ecco un tentativo di comprensione (tramite traduzione) della poesia che dà il titolo al tutto:[commenti, correzioni e suggerimenti sono benvenuti]NordSono tornato a una lunga spiaggia,il ferro di cavallo martellato di una baia,e ho trovato soltanto i profanipoteri del tonante Atlantico.Ho fronteggiato i non incantatiinviti dell’Islanda,le colonie patetichedella Groenlandia, e all’improvvisoquei leggendari razziatori,quelli che giacciono nelle Orcadi e a Dublinomessi a confrontocon le loro spade lunghe che arrugginiscono,quelli nelle durepance delle navi di pietra,*quelli fatti a pezzi e scintillantinella ghiaia di ruscelli disgelatierano voci assordate dall’oceanoche mi avvertivano, di nuovo sollevatein violenza e rivelazione.La lingua fluttuante della nave vichingagalleggiava col senno di poi –diceva che il martello di Thor era branditoverso la geografia e il commercio,gli accoppiamenti stupidi e le vendette,gli odi e gli intrighidelle assemblee generali, le bugie e le donne,gli sfinimenti chiamati pace,la memoria che cova il sangue versato.Ha detto: «Stenditinella scorta di parole, scava un cunicolonelle spire e nel luccichiodel tuo cervello solcato di rughe.Componi nel buio.Aspetta l’aurora borealenella lunga incursionema nessuna cascata di luce.Mantieni il tuo occhio chiarocome la bolla d’aria del ghiacciolo,fidati della percezione di qualsiasi tesoro sporgentele tue mani abbiano conosciuto.»*Le navi di pietra devono essere sepolture tipo questa:

  • StevenGodin
    2019-03-09 07:01

    Seamus Heaney's North found a myth which allowed him to articulate his vision of Ireland. The experience is refracted through images drawn from different parts of the Northern European experience. North takes him from the simpler country poems to him Putting Northern Irish politics inside the framework with a darker world where he confronts the violence and ends up in exile just outside Dublin. The poet, becomes far more ambitious in scope with this collection, maybe the most diverse. There is a strategy of violence being followed in the early 1970s (when this volume was written), which clearly had a big impact on Heaney. There is also a celebration of Gunnar, the Icelandic hero, who "lay beautiful inside his burial mound...and unavenged" (in 'Funeral Rites') was a brave response to the assassins on the Catholic side. So it is no real surprise to find him in exile, and referring to Ovid's banishment, in the last poem of this book. With many poems I felt that Heaney was swimming into new, difficult waters with a bit more passionate trust put into his words. Not always easy to digest, but a very good elegant and powerful collection indeed.

  • necromancer
    2019-02-17 04:37

    "Exhaustions nominated peace, Memory incubating the spilled blood."Not really my cup of tea, but then again, that's probably because I didn't exactly understand the poems. (In addition, it was a university read, and I generally dislike books or poetry I am forced to study instead of read for pleasure.)

  • João Fernandes
    2019-02-27 23:43

    "This is the vowel of the earthdreaming its rootin flowers and snow,mutation of weathersand seasons,a windfall composingthe floor it rots into.I grew out of all thislike a weeping willowinclined tothe appetites of gravity."- From 'Kinship, IV'.

  • Özgür Daş
    2019-03-03 05:39

    Konuşarak kaba Devon şivesiyle,Yasladı Ralegh kızı bir ağacaYaslanır gibi İrlanda İngiltere'yeVe ilerledi iç kısımlaraTa ki nefessiz kalana dek tüm kıyıları:'Sevimlisör, Sörwalter! Sevimlisör, Sörwalter!'Su o, okyanus o, kaldıranOnun iç eteğini, kalkışı gibi bir yosun örtüsününBir dalganın önünde.(Okyanusun İrlanda'ya Aşkı, I)

  • Loranne Davelaar
    2019-02-22 02:06

    Als je zin hebt om duizendmiljoen verwijzingen naar de Vikingen, Scandinavische mythen, de steentijd, moerassen (eindeloos) en elk moment in de geschiedenis waar iemand/iets gekoloniseerd werd uit te pluizen, is dit je boek. Gelukkig bestaat Google.

  • Jacopo Turini
    2019-03-07 07:39

    Eccole qui le ossa, biancheggianti, e il senso ischeletrito della vita: e della storiae tutta la sua corte di omicidi e cateteri, stampelle.Così Pusterla in Bocksten; Heaney, che scrive North nel '75, ugualmente è affascinato da queste bog people, dal mondo arcaico e violento delle età dei metalli. Sono molti e molto belli i testi dedicati a questi uomini e queste donne di catrame, vittime tutte e tutte ancora in grado di parlare. Le cronache nascoste nella torba sono imparentate con il presente, e il luogo è ormai ben radicato nell'immaginazione del poeta. Ecco infatti la seconda strofa di Kinship (Parentele, incerta traduzione mia):Pantano, palude, acquitrino,i regni di melma, domini dei sangue-freddo,di blocchi fangosi e uova sporcate.Ma bogvuol dire soffice,cade la pioggia senza vento, pupilla d'ambra.Terra ruminante,digestione di molluschie baccelli di semi,profondi scarti di polline.Dispensa della terra, cripta di ossa,argine del sole, imbalsamatricedi beni votivie fuggitivi falciati. Sposa insaziabile.Mangiatrice di spade,bara, tumulo, banco di ghiaccio della storia.Terra che si spoglieràdel suo lato oscuro,terra di nidi,entroterra della mia mente.[...]E se la sua poesia più famosa è Digging, che è anche il suo antico manifesto, di nuovo Heaney scava (le piccole vanghe con cui dalla torba si fanno mattoncini compaiono spesso qua e là, fino a diventare monumento, obelisco piantato nel terreno) per riscoprire quanto vi stia sopra. La seconda parte della raccolta cambia radicalmente, e dalle violenze vichinghe si passa alle violenze settarie; il discorso si allunga e si abbassa, il privato del poeta prende molto più spazio. Fuori dal buio limaccioso della torba l'aria "is pounding like a stethoscope" per i tamburi orangisti, che scandiscono il ritmo del Ministero della paura in cui il poeta vive. Heaney si interroga qui sul suo ruolo, sulla sua assoluta ma sofferta distanza dai ringhi e dalle rivendicazioni nazionalistiche; è compassionevole, più che neutrale.Così in Freedman:[...]Then poetry arrived in that city -I would abjure all cant and self-pity -And poetry wiped my brow and sped me.Now they will say I bite the hand that fed me.

  • Tom Brennan
    2019-02-23 04:56

    While I have dipped into Seamus Heaney's work (in Seeing Things), this is the first time I've read a book of his poems. North's collection is in two parts - the first, a broad view of history and contemplation of the Irish bogs, and the various northern invaders (i.e. Vikings) that came to them seeking to do violence. The second part focuses on the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, and the aftermath of having loved ones killed in the conflict, as well as living in fear from further attacks.For me, North proved a very deep read. I started out reading commentaries on the poems, which explained the references Heaney was making, thinking "there's no way I'd know all this". But a subsequent conversation with a good friend dropped the study and started the quest for my own meaning of the poems. That said, I found Part I much more opaque than Part II, but I think the poems benefit from re-reading and contemplation.

  • Tom Ruffles
    2019-02-17 23:49

    Published in 1975, this is an impressionistic portrait of an Ireland as remote from us today as if Heaney were talking about the time of St Patrick. His depiction of a land “shackled in rosary beads” tells of long ago, when the clergy held sway, before the rise and fall of the Celtic tiger, with its fantasy economics, easy credit, and the covering of that damp land in houses, many of which remain unfinished.The dour poems in the first part show us rural Ireland and the winteriness of its “unrelenting soil”, its many, many, old bones: a land of ritual and drudgery. Its inhabitants are so close to the earth that they are symbolised by bog people, who merge with it. This Ireland is not green, but grey. These poems are accomplished, if not always accessible, but the tone is monotonous. Heaney sounds like a man who, sitting in his Dublin study, is happier mythologizing a hard rural existence, one of tediousness punctuated by occasional violence, than living it. To be fair he does get out of Ireland on occasion. In one poem he finds himself in Devon, looking at a dead mole. He is not a naturally cheerful man, one suspects. The title poem is about pillaging Vikings, and you get the impression that Heaney has a long memory that holds its grudges tight. Puzzling is a reference to Frank Sinatra in a poem about the Vikings, but it may be a reference to the emigration from Ireland to America over the centuries:Come fly with me,come sniff the windwith the expertiseof the Vikings –The major theme, other than the Irish landscape and Greek myths (and the Vikings), is England, and the shorter, more personal, second part of the book appears to address the turmoil in Northern Ireland which, in 1975, seemed as if it would never end. Even here, however, while the poems seem clearer than in the first part, ably rehearsing old resentments, they are still oblique comments on the wider situation. Heaney made his views clear by moving to the Republic in 1972; one might wish for similar forthrightness in his writing rather than the chippiness present here.An exception to the miserabilist slant of the collection is the first poem, which recalls his childhood in Northern Ireland. Tellingly called ‘Sunlight’, it talks of baking, and has the magical linesand the sun stoodlike a griddle coolingagainst the wallof each long afternoon.Unfortunately by the time you reach the end of this short book, such an elegiac and affectionate image is submerged under the relentless drabness, and you wonder why Heaney stopped at Dublin, and didn’t just move to New York and have done with it.

  • Steven Quayle
    2019-02-23 05:50

    The Bog QueenI lay waitingbetween turf-face and demesne wall,between heathery levelsand glass-toothed stone.My body was braillefor the creeping influences:dawn suns groped over my headand cooled at my feet,through my fabrics and skinsthe seeps of winterdigested me,the illiterate rootspondered and diedin the cavingsof stomach and socket.I lay waitingon the gravel bottom,my brain darkening.a jar of spawnfermenting undergrounddreams of Baltic amber.Bruised berries under my nails,the vital hoard reducingin the crock of the pelvis.My diadem grew carious,gemstones droppedin the peat floelike the bearings of history.My sash was a black glacierwrinkling, dyed weavesand Phoenician stitchworkretted on my breasts'soft moraines.I knew winter coldlike the nuzzle of fjordsat my thighs––the soaked fledge, the heavyswaddle of hides.My skull hibernatedin the wet nest of my hair.Which they robbed.I was barberedand strippedby a turfcutter's spadewho veiled me againand packed coomb softlybetween the stone jambsat my head and my feet.Till a peer's wife bribed him.The plait of my haira slimy birth-cordof bog, had been cutand I rose from the dark,hacked bone, skull-ware,frayed stitches, tufts,small gleams on the bank.

  • Karen Ravn
    2019-02-21 06:42

    whew, this was a very interesting read! Heaney is very vague and silent in his poetry, but at the same time I feel like he's yelling at me. It's interesting how many different way you can read these poems, though they all relates to the Irish revolutionary period and the Irish civil war, which is not always that easy to see, and I like that. Vague poetry is the best, because it means that you can interpret it your own way, without feeling forced into a certain way of thinking. There was some of the poems I liked less than others, but overall this was an extremely good read. When I put it down I felt the same sort of "enlightenment" that I felt when I finished The Catcher in the Rye, which is the absolute best feeling you can get when you have finished a book (well, that and crying ;) ).So if you have an interest in Ireland or Celtic culture, or just poetry, I would highly recommend picking this up.

  • Kent
    2019-02-23 05:53

    My favorite part of this book is the relationship between first part and second part. the imagistic portrayal of the country versus the personal narrative poems. I draw a thesis in the space between these two. If Ireland has had so many different masters, or tormenters, then how is one to settle on any identity. That conflicted sense of identity, which I read with such pleasure in Derek Walcott's poems, is definitely evident here.

  • James
    2019-02-16 23:53

    Who, blowing up these sparksFor their meagre heat, have missedThe once-in-a-lifetime portent.The comet's pulsing rose.

  • Ian
    2019-02-25 00:00

    North. Cold, remote, primitive. For West Europeans and their descendants, something about that word evokes a sense of wild(er)ness – the mysterious, inhospitable landscapes from which our ancestors eventually emerged into the decadence of Greco-Roman civilization. For Britons, “North” bears the added association of the nor(th/se)men, the Danish raiders who terrorized their cozy island coasts. For the Irish, the word has yet another layer, suggesting the six Ulster counties that chose to remain with the United Kingdom after the rest of the island had secured independence. Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney means for the reader to feel all these associations and more by the monosyllabic title of his strong 1975 collection of poetry.The persona of the North poems is obsessed with archaeological metaphors, but Heaney’s interest in the subject is actually quite literal. Inspired by new, post-war interpretations of the mysterious bog people (human corpses with miraculously preserved features, found throughout Europe), Heaney engages here in several vivid reconstructions of his region’s remote past. One such, “Bog Queen,” feels out an upper-class woman’s relationship with the earth and to a broader network of ancient civilizations, directly re-entering the headspace of her “hibernating skull” through use of the first-person voice. “Punishment”—possibly the finest, if also the most troubling, of the bog poems—casts the latter-day speaker as an “artful voyeur” of an execution scene, as, through the mind’s eye, he watches a woman displayed naked and subsequently drowned by her tribe for adultery.But bog people are not all the “artful” archaeologist digs up. The poems describing the Viking legacy in the British Isles are some of the collection’s most playful; a description of a Viking longboat “sniffing the Liffey,” combined with a later invitation for the reader to “sniff the wind,” come across as a bit whimsical, even. In a sense, the reality of the (violent, traumatic) past under consideration seems to fade in the face of the poet’s joy in the power of his own vibrant imagination operating on historical artifacts (even if he later finds his Hamlet-like ability to see the past’s ghosts somewhat troubling). Perhaps it is this rather light view of the Dark Ages that enables Heaney, in “Freedman,” to attack the civilizing claims of the British with such savage force, lamenting the racist categories that follow from the “census-taking eyes” of Romano-British culture—to which he seems to attribute the administrative relegation of the Irish to an impoverished slave “caste” (a word choice which also evokes British imperialism in India). Both poems reflect the at-times pervasive sense among Celtic nationalists that the pre-modern era was, somehow, better than ordered civilization, with all its poisoned gifts.North is, finally, replete with poems reprising the troubled history of Ireland’s relationship with its eastern neighbor—as any good collection of Irish poetry should be. Heaney frequently employs sexual imagery to capture the violence and (crucially) ultimate indifference of the English invaders. “Ocean’s Love to Ireland,” for example, laments the storm that, defeating the Spanish Armada, paved the way for Elizabeth’s courtiers to solidify their hold on the Dublin area. In powerful iambic lines, the poet mourns the cultural and linguistic loss that accompanied the conquest, as the “drums / of English beat the woods where her [Ireland’s] poets / Sink like Onan.”In the title poem, Heaney's poetic persona, stymied by the present-day “secular” North before him, finds his inspiration when the Norse past comes alive in a dramatic vision of “violence and epiphany.” As one becomes immersed in Heaney’s Ireland—the book’s second, more autobiographical section is replete with descriptions of border patrols and bombings—it is easy to feel the recently-deceased poet’s world has passed out of the realm of the contemporary. But even if the world of the Troubles is rapidly (blessedly) sinking into the bogland, Heaney has left behind a collection of rich artifacts from which the contemporary reader, "buoyant with hindsight," can (re)imagine it.

  • Courtney
    2019-02-23 23:44

    Seamus Heaney is an award-winning poet born in Northern Ireland. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and received numerous other accolades throughout his career. He was raised as a Catholic on a farm and was the oldest of nine children. North is a collection of poetry that is divided into two parts. The title is a reference to his home in the north of Ireland, his inspiration for this work. Part 1 centers around the history of Northern Ireland, particularly the little-known history of the bog people. The bog preserved the bodies of it’s victims for hundreds of years. People considered to be criminals during the Viking age would be killed and cast into the bog’s watery grave, not even given the honor of a burial place. Heaney uses his knowledge of the bodies of these victims and the research that has been done about them to create stories about these people and bring them to life. One poem that does this is “Punishment”. A body was found and believed to be a young girl. He tells a story of adultery and shame for this girl whom is likely falsely accused and mistreated. “Little adulteress,/before they punished you/you were flaxen-haired,/undernourished, and your/tar-black face was beautiful”. Heaney also gives commentary on the way that these people are exploited for their pain by people today, even by him: “I am the artful voyeur/of your brain’s exposed/and darkened combs”. He fills this first part full of the history of the Irish landscape and the people who inhabited it. Part 2 pays particular attention to the political conflict that is constantly prevalent in Northern Ireland between the Protestant and Catholic communities. The Catholics want to secede from the United Kingdom and become assimilated into the Republic of Ireland, whereas the Protestants wish to remain within the U.K.; and this issue manifests itself through the constant presence of guerilla warfare within the communities. These titles of Protestant and Catholic have become a cultural label of the people’s political views more than a religious association.“Whatever You Say Say Nothing” is the main poem that discusses this conflict. Heaney begins this poem with “I’m writing this just after an encounter/With an English journalist in search of ‘views/On the Irish Thing’.” implying that this civil war of sorts has been going on for such an extended period of time that it has become a piece of Irish culture. Heaney implies that it has morphed into just that, “The gelignite’s a common sound effect”. Heaney truly shows how it is to live amidst this conflict that it has become almost old enough for people to forget what they are fighting about. They are as the Capulets and Montagues in fair Verona. The title of this poem is a line from the poem and implies that to save yourself socially you must not let others know which side you associate with, “Where to be saved you only must save face/And whatever you say, you say nothing.” because you have no idea what enemies you might be making otherwise. Heaney uses Part 2 to emphasize the difficulty of living within these circumstances and how it can affect the people socially and politically. In short, North is a beautifully fascinating read, particularly for anyone interested in learning more about the history and culture of Northern Ireland. Heaney does a beautiful job of arranging words in a way that makes the stories flow like music into the reader’s imaginations.

  • Rima Rashid
    2019-02-17 03:00

    Seamus Heaney is one of those authors I've always heard of but never read.~Reading his 1975 poetry anthology, North, was both difficult and insightful for me. It displayed how patterns of violence in Ireland has repeated itself throughout time.~Have you read any Heaney? Do you read poems for pleasure?

  • Madeline
    2019-03-01 01:58

    Uh, Seamus Heaney, as you might have heard somewhere, is a very good poet, and I have always had special love for his bog poems, of which there are many here. But, gosh, "Ireland is a woman" is a very boring thing to read about.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-02-23 04:01

    Published in 1975 by the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past." I had read Death of the Naturalist, which is amazing, and then at some point read the Selected works… but not until recently did I read this, which I found at a used book sale. This book is also great, both lyrical and contemplative and also violent, focusing as it does on the Troubles, the violence in Northern Ireland, which was abroil then more than now. In the poems he's looking at the roots of the troubles in Scandinavian and British invasions of Ireland. It's an archaeology of violence, where the detritus to sift through is on the one hand fossils they were finding, evidence of Norsemen on the land, and also language itself, which is hard to read, contradictory, a shadowy and ethereal palimpsest of the past, Memory, history. But it's also about Heaney becoming a poet, using words to explore the truth, instead of a soldier, using guns to settle issues. It's a pretty amazing achievement, articulating a vision of Ireland--its people, history, landscape.Here's one:NorthSeamus HeaneyI returned to a long strand,the hammered curve of a bay, and found only the secularpowers of the Atlantic thundering.I faced the unmagicalinvitations of Iceland,the pathetic coloniesof Greenland, and suddenlythose fabulous raiders,those lying in Orkney and Dublin measured againsttheir long swords rusting,those in the solidbelly of stone ships,those hacked and glintingin the gravel of thawed streamswere ocean-deafened voiceswarning me, lifted againin violence and epiphany.The longship’s swimming tonguewas buoyant with hindsight—it said Thor’s hammer swungto geography and trade,thick-witted couplings and revenges,the hatreds and behind-backsof the althing, lies and women, exhaustions nominated peace, memory incubating the spilled blood.It said, ‘Lie downin the word-hoard, burrow the coil and gleamof your furrowed brain.Compose in darkness. Expect aurora borealis in the long foraybut no cascade of light.Keep your eye clearas the bleb of the icicle,trust the feel of what nubbed treasure your hands have known.’

  • T.J.
    2019-03-16 05:06

    More immediately accessible than say Station Island, North is a collection divided into two parts. The first section is arguably the more famous as it features Heaney’s so-called Bog People poems, inspired by the archeological findings of Iron Age bodies preserved in the peat mires of Denmark. Written nearly 25 years before Heaney’s famous translation of Beowulf, North features plenty of Anglo-Saxon vocabulary, imagery, and sound. He writes about a time “past philology and kennings,” and in “Bone Dreams,” he describes how he “push[es] back through dictions, Elizabethan canopies. Norman devices,the erotic mayflowers of Provence and the ivied Latins of churchmen to the scop’s twang, the iron flash of consonants cleaving the line.” All that’s missing is Grendel and a horn of golden mead.These bog bodies, in particular the “poor scapegoat” of the poem “Punishment,” my favorite of this series, remind Heaney of “tribal, intimate revenge” and the power of violence, betrayal, and ritualized slaughter. It becomes harder and harder to separate these images from the connotations of the title, North, and the times in which they written, during the Troubles of Northern Ireland.If the political concerns of Irish sectarian conflict are occluded by symbol in Part I, then the shorter Part II lays them out in the open with a shift to the personal and explicitly autobiographical. “Whatever You Say Say Nothing” and the wonderful six part “Singing School” are, for me, the two stand-outs of the entire collection. “Singing School,” which uses Wordsworth’s Prelude in an epitaph and alludes to Yeats in its title, is a Joycean portrait of an artist's attempt to transcend politics, tribe, and history.If you tire of viking boneyards, the “skull-capped ground,” and bog queens, turn to the end and read the last two.

  • Scott
    2019-03-15 06:59

    Wandering through Full Circle Bookstore on Saturday morning, I came across their selection of Seamus Heaney books, pulled from the shelves after the news of his death the day before. It seemed only fitting to purchase one. I've read, and own a copy of, Death of a Naturalist, so I decided to select one of his political works this time (plus I have his magnificent Beowulf). The blurb of this book was most intriguing:In North Seamus Heaney found a myth which allowed him to articulate a vision of Ireland--its people, history and landscape. Here the Irish experience is refracted through images drawn from different parts of the Northern European experience, and the idea of the north allows the poet to contemplate the violence on his home ground in relation to memories of the Scandinavian and English invasions which have marked Irish history so indelibly. There is a brutality and a beauty to these poems. They are not as accessible as some of his other poems. Tomorrow, or later this week, I'll try to blog a few favourites. And I'll probably re-read Death of a Naturalist.

  • Roger DeBlanck
    2019-03-01 01:44

    Heaney's fourth collection, North, is one of my favorite volumes of his work. Indeed, as with every poem in each of his collections, the pieces in North employ the most superb and amazing language. Heaney possesses the type of literary brilliance that transcends and reinvents the world. As always, he is rooted in exploring his homeland of Ireland. By bearing witness to the past, he has linked atrocities of yesteryear with the troublesome persistence of bloodshed that has plagued the more recent history of Ireland due to religious divisions. Whether Heaney is addressing a political matter or otherwise, his work compels readers to whisper the words to themselves and to hear the structure and potency of each verse. You can feel the beauty and genius with the way the sounds collaborate to impact the image he wants us to feel. Heaney is a master and a Nobel laureate most deserving of literature's highest honor.

  • Katie
    2019-03-14 05:39

    North is a very excellent collection of poems about Ireland by Heaney. His view of the country are anything but one-dimensional. Heaney's images of Ireland include the unnervingly modern violent holy battles, the incredible womb of its natural territories as well as its mystical roots in Celtic magic.There are also many undertones of both Greek and Norse Mythology. Heaney even manages to achieve somewhat of a discernible narrative for his readers.This book is a must read for anyone who enjoyed Edith Hamilton's Mythology, has been torn by Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, or intrigued and beguiled by James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. I am normally not a huge fan of collections, but this one I am begging you to read...

  • Peter
    2019-03-11 04:59

    Stark, gripping, eloquent, touching. Heaney first refracts the saga of Ireland's violence and struggle for freedom through images of neolithic excavations, then turns overtly political in the second section. But the historical and political fades away to the personal with the lovely, concluding "Exposure" in which Heaney questions the role and relevance of the poet in society, as well as whether being a poet does himself any good. He describes missing the sight of a comet while sequestered in his study, laboring over his verse, which points to the writer's detachment from the everyday world, which is necessary to getting the writing done but often detrimental to being a human being. A timelss quandry that all writers face, and beautifully illustrated here. Fine work.

  • Isobel
    2019-03-09 00:38

    I feel this collection would benefit from me knowing more about Ireland pre the mid-1800s. However, I did find much of it engaging and moving even without that contextual knowledge. A few of the poems were complete misses for me - he seems to have a large fascination with death and the result is many poems that I felt were actually fairly similar in style, structure and content. This meant that reading through became slightly dull at some sections, and I feel that poetry is so short that every second of it should make the reader feel something. Despite this, it is still a very accomplished collection and I will be revisiting it should I learn more on Irish history.

  • Dan
    2019-02-18 05:38

    North is a portrait of Ireland and can be read as depicting either a very primitive time (as suggested by the bardic qualities) or as being set in the strange landscapes one finds in the work of Samuel Beckett. The language is rough, earth-bound, concrete, monosyllabic and rural, and references to bogs, fens and swamps may remind some of William Shakespeare’s Caliban (Shakespeare’s The Tempest). Some of the poems make reference to the political conflicts in Ireland and their effect on Heaney as a youth.

  • Grace
    2019-03-16 02:41

    I did not like North as much as I liked Death of a Naturalist. I think the main concerns shifted, obviously, as they do. North is more political and deals more with the troubles. I think it's really interesting that Heaney always considered himself Irish, not British, and not even Northern Irish. I think that's pretty clearly reflected in his writing. I also especially liked the poems he wrote for his wife.

  • Melissa Massello
    2019-02-22 02:40

    Seamus Heaney, apart from being my favorite contemporary poet, turns the notion of poetry on its head by finding the beauty in even the most grotesque. By reading North, one gets a true feeling of the interconnectedness not only of all things, but of all generations of life throughout history--that the dead never truly leave waking life. I re-read this book all the time.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-11 02:57

    Heaney's voyeurism is sometimes a bit much for me to enjoy, but I do think this collection is consistently good, and lines like "beautiful prismatic counselling" (from Exposure) really show off his poetic flair.

  • Johanna Haas
    2019-02-28 01:58

    This is a wow book. Heaney explores his native Ireland through the idea of North - from Viking invaders to the conflicts of Northern Ireland. A consummate craftsman, I cannot imagine how long it took him to find all the right words.

  • Sarah Elizabeth
    2019-03-14 03:37

    Strange and twisted, Heaney's images are often grotesque and yet deceivingly simple. I can't come up with what I think of it yet. I'll have to spend more time with his book. . .