Review by J. McClatchy Dec. The prizes Nobel established with his profits can be explosive in their own way. One danger of the award in literature continues to be the political justification the committee offers for its annual choice. In October -- as if to nudge the peace talks between London and the I.
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Review by J. McClatchy Dec. The prizes Nobel established with his profits can be explosive in their own way. One danger of the award in literature continues to be the political justification the committee offers for its annual choice. In October -- as if to nudge the peace talks between London and the I. The fractious, often deadly politics of his homeland, because they are some of the circumstances of his daily life, flicker through his poems. But his ambitions have always been more private, and his gift essentially lyric.
Heaney is wary. That very wariness was the subject of a series of public lectures he gave between and as the Professor of Poetry at Oxford. In its more reasoned, subtle and amiable way, Mr. There, as here, he may brood on history or discuss critical theory, but he is uncomfortable doing so.
As soon as he advances a general idea, he retreats into the specifics of texts, texts drawn from a whole range of English, Irish and American poems. Confident that true poetry stretches a tripwire across the path of the ideologue, he is never a polemicist, always the scrupulous, admiring reader. Poetry is not printout, never merely a fading duplicate of experience.
Marxists, feminists, anyone who prefers to read a poem as a set of discourses -- in essay after essay he entertains their views in order to dismiss them. The other poets he takes up, from John Clare to Hugh MacDiarmid, were all early favorites who became abiding loyalties. He is justly hard on some. The vital tensions Mr. Heaney searches out are, of course, implicit in any good poem, wherever the affirmative impulses of form meet the negative evidence of subject matter.
But only a master can make those tensions radiant. Another poet Mr. Heaney admires, Robert Lowell, once confronted a Soviet bureaucrat who was urging more frequent exchanges of poets between superpowers, and expanding on their role in promoting peace. That is not its business. Art is peace. At these moments there is always a kind of homeopathic benefit for the reader in experiencing the shifts and extensions which constitute the life of a poem.
The Redress of Poetry
Heaney deliberately focusses on poets who are writing on the frontiers of their societies - those frontiers being national, class and linguistic. The first lecture is really quite superb and sets the tone well. After that his lectures on An excellent series of lectures given by Seamus Heaney in his post as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. After that his lectures on the poets I knew well Larkin, Clare, Bishop and Thomas as well as his discussion of the Ballad of Reading Gaol were the ones that I enjoyed most. I have never heard of Brian Merriman, and Hugh MacDiarmid sits unread on my shelf, courtesy of marrying a Scottish literature graduate. I learned so much about how this is done, and what matters the most about the doing and what results from the work Apr 14, Gautam Bhatia rated it really liked it In Seamus Heaneys Casualty, a poem about a pub-going Ulsterman who ignores a curfew during the peak of the Troubles, and is killed for it, the last three lines the poet speaking to the dead man, the casualty , are a study in ambivalence: Dawn-sniffing revenant, Plodder through midnight rain, Question me again.
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How far is Seamus Heaney justified in seeking the redress of poetry? (P.U. 2005)