A cat can look at a king can't he? (Review)
Realising some time ago that my pretentions needed at least some material I bought a Bluffer's Guide to Literature. This slim edition remains my only source of critical legitimacy. Anyone wishing to take this further should read my forthcoming "Taxi Driver's Guide to Open Heart Surgery".
Today April 6th 2006 marks the publication of Seamus Heaney's "District and Circle"
The title poem describes how a Nobel Literature Laureate goes for a ride on the tube. This experience is rich with balanced poetic insight. The tunnels are "blasted weeping rock walls. Flicker-lit"
In a rather chilling poem entitled "Anything Can Happen" one is forced to wonder if he was referring to the nine eleven but in any event there emerges from the collection a sense that a solid old world has gone to be replaced by a tinny uncertainty.
The main volume of the work re-visits Heaney's childhood. The images are of bog and spade, tool and friendship all beautifully written. He unwittingly unearths a theme I last read in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" in which the balance and quality of manufactured objects amount to the only true integrity we may find in a manufacturing industrial world.
This is a book of beautiful poetry and the use of language is perfect. I shall definitely try and steal some.
Heaney is an icon but you know I think he is from another time and I think we all sense it. Once was a time when just a few were THE poets and all the rest of us were posts sledged beautifully into the peat.
I've seen stuff on write-buzz of lesser technique and less accomplished language that have made me call out "YES!" or the felt the prick of a tear. So, get this book if you've got a few quid. Learn from his craft and technique then get it down and get it out there. You know who you are. It's in your heart.
"District and Circle" by Seamus Heaney is published today by Faber and Faber at £12.99p
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