Books April 1991
At a tangent
A review of Selected Poems, 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney.
Seamus Heaney’s Selected Poems, 1966-1987 is the second such compilation that the fifty-one-year-old Irish poet has published in the United States. Although the first, Poems, 1965-1975 (1980), claimed to be a complete gathering of the poems from Death of a Naturalist (1966), Door into the Dark (1969), Wintering Out (1972), and North (1975)—Heaney’s first four books—this was not the case. Omitted were seven poems from Death of a Naturalist. This new volume, an acknowledged “selected,” excludes, in addition to the already-banished poems, the bulk of the early, Ted Hughes-inspired work from Heaney’s first two books. Gone too is a small group of political poems from the late Sixties that appeared in North. What remains is the decidedly apolitical, un-Ted Hughesian work of the last fifteen years, principally from Stations (1975),...
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