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Opened Ground: Poems, 1966-96 [Kindle Edition]

Seamus Heaney
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For Seamus Heaney, "opened ground" is a necessity--a way of getting to the root of things. The book bearing that name spans three decades, beginning with "Digging," his exhilarating portrait of the artist as a young revolutionary. "Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests; snug as a gun," Heaney boasts (although by the end of the poem, his weapon has metamorphosed into something closer to the spade his grandfather and father once relied upon). The last entry, the sonnet "Postscript," appears some 400 pages later, which makes Opened Ground a capacious selection of his work. But at this point Heaney requires the largest of hold-alls. There are beautiful, pastoral lyrics here, sequences such as "Glanmore Sonnets" and "Clearances," and a multitude of love poems, not solely to his wife but to his parents and children. And in Heaney's hands, small domestic moments and objects--a scrabble board, a swing, a kite, a bed sawn in half to get it downstairs--invariably become both reality and soaring myth.

At the same time, his Ireland is the site of "neighborly murders," and the past and larger world he confronts is one threatened by history and brutal sectarianism. Heaney has declared, "Fear is the emotion that the muse thrives on. That's always there"--and terror is pervasive in his "land of password, handgrip, wink and nod, / Of open minds as open as a trap." Many of his poems that explore the Troubles reflect his own considerable concern that he has long "confused evasion and artistic tact." Others might be termed self-reflexive, since Heaney uses them to unearth his own role. "Kinship" features a simple, brilliant (not to mention canine!) simile:

I step through origins
like a dog turning
its memories of wilderness
on the kitchen mat.
In a later poem, "From the Frontier of Writing," he compares the struggle for inspiration to being stopped at a roadblock: "And everything is pure interrogation / until a rifle motions you and you move / with guarded unconcerned acceleration." Heaney's gift is dazzling, and would be almost unbearable were it not matched by vigilance, self-doubt, and regret--and his longing for the day in which "justice can rise up / And hope and history rhyme." --Kerry Fried


"[This collection] eloquently confirms his status as the most skillful and profound poet writing in English today."--Edward Mendelson, The New York Times Book Review

"Perhaps the best descriptions of Seamus Heaney's extraordinarily rich and varied oeuvre come from the poet's own work. Mr. Heaney has created a remarkable series of poems that stay 'true to the impact of external reality' while at the same time remaining 'sensitive to the inner laws of the poet's being.'"--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Having just reread most of his poems, I find myself more, not less, interested, and convinced that I have only begun to plumb their bracing depths . . . The poems stay in the mind, which is the one essential feature of major poetry."--Jay Parini, The Nation

"Heaney's commitment to the independence of his art, to the pursuit of shape and richness and abundant ambiguity, is also a profound commitment to the quality of public life . . . In a dark time, Heaney . . . has turned borders and dividing lines into rich frontiers."--Fintan O'Toole, The New York Review of Books


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Marvellous collection 25. Februar 1999
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Those of you who are already familiar with his poems will be delighted to learn of the publication of Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996, a bumper crop of Heaney's best work over a thirty year period, and a record of the writer's development from the tentative and introspective poems of Death of a Naturalist (1966) to the authoritative and visionary tonalities of middle age in Seeing Things (1991) and The Spirit Level (1996).
This hefty, 440-page volume gathers together a pruned-down version of each of the author's ten volumes of poetry, plus extracts from his verse play, The Cure at Troy, his translation of the Irish epic poem, Sweeney Astray, and his Nobel Prize lecture, "Crediting Poetry." In 1975, poet Robert Lowell dubbed Heaney "the greatest Irish poet since W.B.Yeats." This volume proves that claim, perhaps too hasty a judgement in 1975, to be fully justified.
One of the most appealing aspects of the early poetry is the dense, tactile language used to evoke scenes of nature on the family farm, often conveyed from the point of view of the small child, and the poems are full of a child's freshness of perception. Farmyard and barnyard, cows, bulls, rats, sheds, wells, rakes, ploughs, and pitchforks appeared in vivid detail in this rural poetic landscape, in which the speaker experienced his solitary epiphanies. Farm workers and rural artisans, including thatchers, ploughmen and even water diviners were transformed into artists in their own right, and as alter egos of the poet himself
In the 1970s, Heaney began to write more directly about the Irish landscape, particularly the marshy bogs, that became emblematic for him of the Irish national consciousness.
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Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Seamus Heaney is a master poet who connects nature, emotion, and even plot, in a brilliant and particularly Irish poetry. These poems are accessible to non-English majors. I read them out loud to my wife at night. They elicit a reaction that begins at emotional imagery, veers into thought, and ends up touching your soul. One of the immortal greats of the English language is writing and publishing now, and this book is indispensable.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wow! 5. Dezember 2013
Von S. F.
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Beautiful poems! I totally understand why Heaney got the Nobel Prize in literature. He is amazing at evoking complex concepts through the description of simple things. My favorite poems were probably the bog poems, "Weighing in" and "St. Kevin and the Blackbird."
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The best one volume edition of Heaney's work! 13. September 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I have waited several years for a single volume edition of Heaney's poetry-this is it! Contains 150 poems,several prose pieces and concludes with his Nobel Prize acceptance speech 'Crediting Poetry'. An excellent collection.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Seeking devine intervention? 25. Februar 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Some people, when seeking devine intervention, look to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John...some fast for days on end...some lie on beds of nails, or chant endlessly... I look to Seamus Heaney.
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