Sunday, July 18, 2021


Seamus Heaney. DISTRICT and CIRCLE. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006.

Could not resist buying this hardcover Heaney, published a decade after he was awarded the Novel Prize for Literature. A photo of some mysterious machine, a turnip shredder, on the cover. You can tell from the topics of the poems that he has been travelling a lot. Flying over rotting glaciers, driving through Mennonite fields in winter, yet still seeing in them, there, images of his home. At first I suspected he was doing an homage to Whitman, in anti-Romantic fervor, celebrating the machine, the human-built world. He does dedicate several to other poets and writers--Wordsworth, Rilke, Seferis, Cavafy, Hughes, Dorothy Wordsworth, Neruda, Auden. A roll call of heroes. But he always returns to the trees, the birds, the bog. 

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