Saturday, June 13, 2009

More Seamus Heaney

Today's Guardian has a review by Peter McDonald of Heaney's translation of The Testament of Cresseid & Seven Fables by Robert Henryson which I blogged about a week or two ago. "The poem is a masterpiece; and Heaney's version shows an unobtrusive, but real, mastery of its own".

The same newspaper has a review by Sue Arnold of Heaney's reading of his Collected Poems - "For me he is the most thoughtful, the wisest and yet most accessible of all modern poets. His talent - one of them - is his ability to reconfigure the familiar."

I'm more than half way through the collection, determined to get to the end, reading and listening at the same time. I'm also dipping into a few books of criticism - Seamus Heaney The Making of the Poet by Michael Parker, The Poetry of Seamus Heaney - A Critical Study by Neil Corcoran and The Poetry of Seamus Heaney - A Reader's Guide to Essential Criticism edited by Elmer Kennedy-Andrews.

From the last book comes this wonderful remark on Heaney's popularity - The rise in Heaney's reputation and the boom in health foods are sociologically connected - making the point that the poet's early country poems seem to mirror modern fashionable anxieties about urbanisation and technology.

I'm just starting Seeing Things now. Three volumes (or is it four?) to go.


Unknown said...

I'm reading Stepping Stones at the mo, funny how you want to be reading the poems as you're reading the unfolding of his life.

You'll be positively dripping in Heaney by the time you're done!

Michael Farry said...

I know. I read Stepping Stones a little while ago. I've read a lot of Heaney over the years but I'm determined to listen to and read the lot now. Another month should do it!!