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Digging the Opened Ground


strong and touching poems, consistently thrilling to read

can only be dipped into from time to time

Recommendable Yes:

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This book of Heaney's poems is not a short collection (like Death of a Naturalist) nor a compete works, but rather is somewhere in between. It contains poems from different selections of his work over the years, and as such is a lovely book for both those who are familiar with the poet and those who are new to Heaney and his work. It is a book which you can open at any page and find a gem.
In one poem Heaney talks of how his forefathers dug the ground, but how he would spend his life 'digging' with his pen. This analogy is striking throughout the collection, as there is something earthy and solid in his works. The connections with the natural world give his poems a striking strength and beauty. The words in each poem are so carefully selected and placed that they seem to provide an unmovable scaffolding for the poem, so firm they seems to become a feature of the natural world themselves. Beyond this, the connotations of words, and the ghosts of historical Irish context seem to be able to move freely. All of it is skillfully tied together through the very sensual sounds of the words when read or spoken.
The book is highly enjoyable, to say any more would be difficult as for each reader personal interpretations will have their effect, "dig" their way into the poems and sprout new meanings. So I would recommend finding this book, opening a few random pages and reading them for yourself. The lecture at the back of the book 'Crediting Poetry' too is a treat to be saved for a rainy day, worth reading by anyone with an interest in the manipulation of words into literature, and the reasons for doing it.
Priced between £10 and £15 it is something of an investment, but if you are a fan of Heaney, or just poetry and literature in general, will make a rewarding addition to your bookcase. It would also make a beautiful present. But if you don't wish to buy, I would certainly recommend borrowing it from a library.

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iamthebest1 18.06.2007 12:24

More information needed if you would like a higher rating, let me know if you make any changes, in the time being try to seperate your text so that it is a bit easier to read.

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Product details

Type Poetry
Title Open Ground Poems 1966-1996
Author Seamus Heaney
ISBN 0374526788
EAN 9780374526788

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