Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wintering Out by Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney is well on his way to becoming my favorite poet. I first read him (aside from the odd poem here and there) this year, and this is the second collection I’ve read, after Station Island. This is on par, or just a little behind that one in my estimation. A couple more this good and he's there.

The atmosphere of Heaney’s poems is just a couple degrees off of the best nature or horror writing (at least as I’ve experienced them). There is a constant mist and the sense that the past lives in the peat bogs and will likely crawl out of the ground and possibly harm you. But there is wonder there as well. And the sense that the Irish troubles of the late 20th century are happening just outside of the scenes he depicts. While Heaney is no stickler for form, there is a music to his language that really works for me.

Standouts include Bog Oak, the five poem cycle Northern Hoard (especially the fifth poem, Tinder), Cairn Maker, Augery, Wedding Day, Summer Home, Maighdean Mara and Limbo. There were only a few that didn’t work for me, and I should probably reread those to make sure. All in all another magnificent collection which I will be returning to often.

Canon Worthy
Library Books And Everything Else 2020 18/35

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