Read Field Work by Seamus Heaney Online


"Field Work," which first appeared in 1979, is a superb collection of lyrics and narrative poems from one of the literary masters of our time. As the critic Dennis Donoghue wrote in "The New York Times Book Review": "In 1938, not a moment too soon, W. B. Yeats admonished his colleagues: 'Irish poets, learn your trade.' Seamus Heaney, born the following year, has learned hi"Field Work," which first appeared in 1979, is a superb collection of lyrics and narrative poems from one of the literary masters of our time. As the critic Dennis Donoghue wrote in "The New York Times Book Review": "In 1938, not a moment too soon, W. B. Yeats admonished his colleagues: 'Irish poets, learn your trade.' Seamus Heaney, born the following year, has learned his trade so well that it is now a second nature wonderfully responsive to his first. And the proof is in "Field Work," a superb book . . . [This is] a perennial poetry offered at a time when many of us have despaired of seeing such a thing." Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His recent translations include "Beowulf" and "Diary of One Who Vanished"; his recent poetry collections include "Opened Ground" and "Electric Light." "Field Work," which first appeared in 1979, is a superb collection of lyrics and narrative poems from one of the literary masters of our time. As the critic Dennis Donoghue wrote in "The New York Times Book Review": "In 1938, not a moment too soon, W. B. Yeats admonished his colleagues: 'Irish poets, learn your trade.' Seamus Heaney, born the following year, has learned his trade so well that it is now a second nature wonderfully responsive to his first. And the proof is in "Field Work," a superb book . . . [This is] a perennial poetry offered at a time when many of us have despaired of seeing such a thing." "Heaney is keyed and pitched unlike any significant poet now at work in the language, anywhere."--Harold Bloom, "The Times Literary Supplement" "For all the qualities I list, the most important is song [and] the tune Heaney sings [is] poetry's tune, resolutions of cherished language."--Donald Hall, "The Nation"...

Title : Field Work
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374516208
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 66 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Field Work Reviews

  • Bruce
    2019-04-09 03:04

    This collection of poems was published in 1976, four years after Heaney left Belfast with his family and moved south to County Wicklow, south of Dublin. Even here, though, far from the Troubles, his mind cannot leave the torment of Northern Ireland. In the opening poem, “Oysters”, as he is much in the present, “Our shells clacked on the plates/…Alive and violated/… Bivalves: the split bulb/…Millions of them ripped and shucked and scattered,” his thoughts gravitate northward. The first part of the next poem, “Triptych”, is subtitled “After a Killing”. In “The Toome Road” he remembers a convoy of armed cars with soldiers, and in “The Strand of Lough Beg” a random sectarian killing. His gaze is immediate, his language often harsh, at times almost guttural, his verse firmly rooted in the particular. After the first several poems, Heaney’s verse begins to focus more on his own identity as a poet, his development in that calling, and the actual craft of writing. Of particular beauty is “Elegy,” his tribute to Robert Lowell and Lowell’s influence on him. This leads logically to his ten “Glanmore Sonnets,” masterful works building on each other and demonstrating his increasing mastery of his craft.The poems in the last half of the volume are more intensely personal, celebrating Heaney’s own relationships and dwelling on the immediacy of present sensory experience, although never lacking in allusions to the greater poetic tradition. The final poem, “Ugolino”, is in fact a translation of Dante.

  • Francisca
    2019-04-08 02:52

    Every time I read Heaney's poetry, I feel the need of reading each poem at least three times just to get the sentiment and then another time just because it is beautiful

  • Jim
    2019-04-21 01:06

    I didn’t realize Seamus Heaney was from the North until I read Field Notes, and I think it shows. The first poem, “oysters” caught my attention right away with its description of “frond-lipped, brine-stung” bivalves. Heaney’s language, like that of all the great Irish writers, is sensual and sentimental, but whereas Irish poets evoke Irishness, but Heaney conjures up Ireland itself. In the first of the Glanmore Sonnets, Heaney describes the fog over “the turned-up acres” of a freshly ploughed field as “steaming,” a place where the traveler’s “ghosts come striding into their spring stations.” I think I would be very happy to spend a season doing nothing but reading Heaney and walking in Ireland.

  • Bonnye Reed
    2019-04-04 05:56

    XXX This is another old favorite of mine, ordered from Amazon with income tax refund this year. I had not realized Seamus Heaney had passed - so glad I was able to get a copy of this book. My library does not have it, any longer. He was a wonderful poet, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. Several of his books are currently out of print, but if you run across them, give them a read. Most of us remember Beowulf, but he had many poems, lilting and running across the heart.

  • Drew
    2019-04-16 00:50

    In "Field Work," sometimes Seamus Heaney lays on the poetry so thick that it makes me wince. I wish this collection had a little bit more of "My people think money and talk weather" and a little bit less of "My tongue moved, a slow relaxing hinge." And while I can't say I liked this book, I admit I'll probably go back to it again. It beguiles even as it bothers. As Gertrude Stein once said, "A masterpiece may be unwelcome but it is never dull."

  • Frances Sawaya
    2019-04-19 07:11

    Since the death of Seamus Heaney, I returned to this work and had another look. I tried to read a poem or two each day and then relate them to the quilts made by Helen Heron (Northern Ireland). Both of them are/were such scholars who loved to explore the classics and then translate them into their own art forms (he - poetry; she-textiles). My favorite poem here remains the seductive "Oysters."

  • Abby
    2019-04-05 01:02

    Read Heaney. A feast of poetry. Great enough to be your last meal, beautiful enough to weep. I especially loved the Glanmore Sonnets. So seamlessly he meditates from the Irish landscape to the landscape of his mind, his heart.

  • Rachel Beeler
    2019-04-06 01:05

    4.5 stars PopSugar 2016: A book of poetry (x)

  • Taylor Pandolfino
    2019-04-05 06:42

    Field Work is, indeed, work for the reader. Heaney is notoriously difficult at times, peppering his poems with words such as “inwit,” “crepuscular,” “sprezzatura,” and “empery.” His symbolism is multilayered, his metaphors are sometimes obscure, and his narrative voice is constantly in flux. Of course, because he is Seamus Heaney, the hard work pays off; Field Work is a beautiful book of verse composed by the Nobel laureate at the pinnacle of his poetic career, inspired by the four years he spent in County Wicklow, a rural area south of Dublin, far from the incessant violence of Belfast, the poet’s home. The first third of Field Work is marked by poignant elegies to friends murdered during the Troubles, the wondrous Glanmore Sonnets constitute the middle third, and the final third features a series of deeply personal lyrics rooted in Wicklow’s rich soil. “Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I’ll dig with it,” Heaney writes in one of his first poems, “Digging”; in this collection, written much later, he has so evidently done just that, thereby fulfilling W. B. Yeats’s admonishment— “Irish poets, learn your trade.”There are countless poems from which to choose to discuss because I enjoy them so much. I am touched by Heaney’s self-comparison to “some old pike all badged with sores / Wanting to swim in touch with soft-mouthed life” in “The Guttural Muse.” I am nearly moved to tears when Heaney, elegizing a friend who frequents his father-in-law’s public house, writes in a poem titled “Casualty,” “I loved his whole manner, / Sure-footed but too sly, / His deadpan sidling tact, / His fisherman’s quick eye.” I am reminded of my own meditative visit to Ireland when, in the fourth Glanmore Sonnet, I read, “He saw the fuchsia in a drizzling noon, / The elderflower at dusk like a risen moon / And green fields greying on the windswept heights.” And finally, I recall my own romantic escapades in nature when Heaney describes intimate human contact with reference to the bark of a tree, singing “Boortree is bower tree, where I played ‘touching tongues’ / And felt another’s texture quick on mine.” At one point, Heaney asks, “What is my apology for poetry?” For this reader, he need not defend his “trade,” to use Yeats’s term, whatsoever.In 1979, just after Field Work was published, Denis Donoghue of the New York Times wrote that “what is exhilarating in these poems [that is, the poems of Field Work] is the relation between their two musics: the music of what happens comes first, and Heaney listens to it, receives it as a gift, like the first line of a poem; the second music is what he makes of the first, taking it into himself and finding a voice for it there.” I have yet to find a better characterization of Heaney’s poetry in this collection. In so many of Field Work’s poems, incisive, metaphor-laden reflection quickly supplants simple narrative, and the poem takes an entirely different direction than one might have first anticipated. This measured freneticism adds a certain vivacity to Heaney’s verse, accentuated by his return to the long line, which he disfavored for the short one in most of his previous works. However meditative, however thoughtful, poems such as “The Otter” and “Oysters” leap off of the page with the energy and dynamism of “green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux.” While I have read a number of Heaney’s poems in the wide-ranging volume of selected works, Opened Ground, this is his first book that I read from cover to cover, and it was sheer joy. Heaney’s intelligence, wit, and poetic ability are unmatched by other Irish poets whom I have studied, barring W. B. Yeats. I am eager to read another Heaney collection all the way through—and soon.

  • Andrada
    2019-04-20 06:01

    This was an interesting collection of poems. It starts off with the violence of Irish political conflicts haunting the waking dreams of the poet even when he retires from Belfast in disillusion. Slowly, Heaney reverts to the contemplation of nature and rural life that made Death of a Naturalist such a testament to his power to capture the vivid earthiness of the Irish countryside. Heaney’s poems can rarely be read once and often require some further research on the apart of those not well versed in Irish recent history and culture, but they are well worth the effort.

  • sami al-khalili
    2019-04-19 01:09

    Find Song. Read one. Read twice. Read thrice. Sit on a bench facing a lake. Pause to hear the birds. Read it for the fourth time. Turn on to the next poem. There's a reason why this is so good and its more than man-made flowers.

  • Jamie
    2019-04-07 05:42

    So beautiful. In my top 3 Seamus Heaney collections for sure. Especially love the sonnets.

  • Kathleen Waller
    2019-03-23 00:51

    The poetry has a lot of imagery and makes me think deeply about the world around me.

  • Andy Luke
    2019-04-19 06:51

    I've appreciated Heaney more for reading this, but not much more. The most fixated upon poet of Northern Ireland underwhelms me. An indisputable eye for nature sure, yet he over-eggs and seems stuck in a role as editor for Farming Magazine. I did appreciate this. Too often Heaney in schools ends up putting the duller works in my lap: this gave me more range. There's real gems in this: the two 'In Memoriam' pieces, 'Elegy', 'Glanmore Sonnet VI' and the spectacular giant finale, 'Ugolino'. But no, there was no one piece that leapt out at me, only the odd verse here and there. He's particularly good talking about seals.

  • Patrick Goff
    2019-03-24 07:05

    "[...] O neither these versesNot my prudence, love, can heal your wounded stare."When not meditating on the mythic beauty of nature, Heaney's heart-wrenching bouts of nostalgia will move even the most cynical and hard of heart.

  • Laura
    2019-03-21 06:58

    Heaney makes you work. His poems are tight, as hard as iron, at times almost cold - he writes with an edge and a precision that cuts, that is almost mathematical, and that makes the tender moments almost more stunning. "How perilous is it to chose not to love the life we're shown?" he asks. And all his poems, in a way, are about that - about the unbearable consequences of loving a place. His poems are grounded in the history and the present of Ireland, and his love and grief for his homeland is present in every line. The whole book is a kind of love song and lament to Ireland. Heaney somehow is able to bring you with him into the woes and miracles of the country he loves, one that is also tearing itself apart. I found this book hard to get through. At times the poems were almost too cold and painful and matter-of-fact to read,, and then there were moments where suddenly they would just open up and I couldn't breathe. Something about the precision and bluntness of them made them untouchable, and yet also very honest, and very tender.

  • Charlotte
    2019-03-24 07:07

    This is my first outing with poetry since school. Some of the poems I really connected with. Oysters really stands out. The presence of the Troubles, the fear, the tragedy was mostly subtle, blended in with the countryside, the people, nature. The poem about Bloody Sunday was powerful. However, there were a number of poems I just didn't get, and not being overly literary, I didn't mind that at all!I will return to more of Heaney's work but not too soon, as poetry is quite alien to me. RIP Mr Heaney

  • Mark
    2019-04-08 07:57

    This book of poems was published the year I was in Ireland, and I heard Heaney read from it while there. I bought the book, asked Heaney to sign it, and gave it as a gift to Jeannette’s friend David Kaufman, who had suggested I go hear Heaney before I left for Ireland. It is wonderful poetry. I think Heaney’s mastery of language is unmatched. He uses it to connect the world as it is with his inner senses. From “The Badgers”:How perilous is it to chooseNot to love the life we’re shown?

  • Caitlin
    2019-04-06 07:49

    I loved loved loved the first poem in this book. Like top-3 favorite. Blew me away. I was so excited for the remainder of the book. And...maybe I just wasn't in my right kind of analytical mood as I read, but the majority of the rest of the poems just seemed political and too rooted in a place I'm not familiar with. I couldn't connect. However, what came shining through was Heaney's talent. He has gobs of it. Such a direct density of language. I can definitely see myself returning to this one.

  • Alyson Hagy
    2019-04-13 00:10

    This may be my favorite volume of poems by Heaney. Poems like "Oysters" and "The Badgers" and the title poem just work for me. The American farm girl in my probably makes me very susceptible to the powers of Heaney's rural, physical lyrics. But that's all right with me. He's one of those writers who helps me see the natural world as important and strange (yet again). And he is, to state the obvious, a master of English rhythms and sounds.

  • G L Meisner
    2019-04-11 03:06

    An excellent collection in which Heaney spend time thinking outside of his previous works but feels more human in many of the poems. He reflects on the dead and the history of his family and Ireland even looking to the fighting in Belfast for inspiration.I found myself drawn into the poems in a way that many poets can't do. I couldn't get out of the book easily and had to remind myself to go to sleep. I think this is among Heaney's finest works.

  • Sean
    2019-03-21 05:53

    One of Heaney's earlier collections, "Field World" shows the reader a person of enormous sensitivity and talent at the start of his literary career. Particularly interesting is the influence of the Troubles on many of poems. It gives many of them an elegiac quality as a poet tries to interpret and capture the stresses and confusion of such a situation in Ireland at the time. A gentle introduction for anyone looking to start reading Seamus Heaney's work

  • Mia
    2019-04-09 04:02

    From Field Work:SongA rowan like a lipsticked girl.Between the by-road and the main roadAlder trees at a wet and dripping distanceStand off among the rushes.There are the mud-flowers of dialectAnd the immortelles of perfect pitchAnd that moment when the bird sing very closeTo the music of what happens.Really a beautifully crafted book of poetry.

  • Sarita
    2019-04-12 03:57

    My son loves to be read to from this book. He's two; I'm not sure what draws him in, but Heaney's percussive style and perfect meter are that compelling...I think I'd love this even if I didn't understand what the words meant. (Although, it's Heaney; my comprehension level is probably only about 40% more than my son's here...)

  • Helen
    2019-04-13 06:05

    Seamus Heaney's poetry bursts with sensuality, regardless of the topic. He is equally passionate about love, Ireland, nature, and friends and family lost. This is especially true in poems like The Badgers, where a love of nature is entwined with both romantic love while also hinting at The Troubles. An excellent book and an excellent poem, deserving of the Nobel Prize earned.

  • Robin
    2019-03-30 06:42

    It is so easy to mess up "nature" poetry, but Seamus Heaney is always skilled with his craft. These poems are inviting and beautiful, and some of them are absolutely devastating. I'm usually a little skeptical of rhyming poetry, or poems that rely strictly on meter, but Heaney of course is masterful at this and it only helps to add musicality and beauty to his elegies.

  • Mars Yuvarajan
    2019-04-16 03:57

    A great book of Poetry. Seamus Heaney deftly captures the turmoil of the early 1900's conflicts in which he matured as a poet, and writes in startlingly impactful pieces the loss he felt at some of his colleagues and friends dying in the national and international conflicts occurring at the time. A fantastic read and highly worth adding to any poetry collection.

  • Jake
    2019-04-13 02:12

    Heaney writes poetry like you think it should be done when you're a young man looking to understand the world as told through poetry. It's a little elusive, it's a bit fragile, and it can get you right when you're least expecting it. Old world, surely, and forever timeless and with lust for knowledge and experience.

  • Michael Arnold
    2019-04-03 04:00

    This is going to make me seem like Plebus Grandis, but I found this collection rather passable aside from the Dante-based poem about Ugolino. This is again just an initial reading, I'm going to be paying much more attention to this in just a little bit, but ... I don't know. I can't find much love for this one in this first read.

  • Kyrstin
    2019-04-20 07:00

    I love Seamus Heaney's poetry, but aside from a few poems, these aren't my favorite of his. His language is dense, something I had completely forgotten about, but so beautifully descriptive. Very enjoyable.