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Human Chain

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Seamus Heaney's new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present — the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered. Human Chain also broaches larger questions of transmission, of lifelines to the inherited past. There are newly minted versions of anonymous early Irish lyrics, poems that stand at the crossroads of oral and written, and other “hermit songs” that weigh equally in their balance the craft of scribe and the poets early calling as scholar. A remarkable sequence entitled “Route 101” plots the descent into the underworld in the Aeneid against single moments in the arc of a life, from a 1950s childhood to the birth of a first grandchild. Other poems display a Virgilian pietas for the dead — friends, neighbors, family — that is yet wholly and movingly vernacular.

Human Chain also includes a poetic “herbal” adapted from the Breton poet Guillevic — lyrics as delicate as ferns, which puzzle briefly over the world of things and landscapes that exclude human speech, while affirming the interconnectedness of phenomena, as of a self-sufficiency in which we too are included.

Review:

"Nostalgia and memory, numinous visions and the earthy music of compound adjectives together control the short poems and sequences of the Irish Nobel laureate's 14th collection of verse, a work of familiar strengths and unparalleled charm. Old teachers, schoolmates, farmhands, and even the employees of an 'Eelworks' arrive transfigured through Heaney's command of sound: a schoolmate whose family worked in the eel trade 'would ease his lapped wrist// From the flap-mouthed cuff/ Of a jerkin rank with eel oil,// The abounding reek of it/ Among our summer desks.' The title poem applies Heaney's gift for physical mimesis to an image from the day's news: 'bags of meal passed hand to hand... by the aid workers' remind the poet of the grain-sacks he swung and dragged in his own youth. Other pages remember, and praise, libraries and classrooms--from grade school, from Harvard, and from medieval Irish monasteries, with their 'riddle-solving anchorites.' For all the variety of Heaney's framed glimpses, though, the standout poems grow from occasions neither trivial nor topical: Heaney in 2006 had a minor stroke, and the discreet analogies and glimpsed moments in poems such as 'Chanson d'Aventure' (about a ride in an ambulance) and 'In the Attic' ('As I age and blank on names') bring his characteristic warmth and subtlety to mortality, rehabilitation, recent trauma, and old age. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Heaney is an earthy and mythic poet who channels the music and suffering of Ireland.... These are loamy, time-saturated poems, at once humble and exalted, taproots reaching into the underworld, flowers opening to the sun." Booklist

Review:

"Human Chain is a gallery of things — of...the heating boiler and the mite box and the gold-banded fountain pen, possessions that also possess, things that seize the people who use them." New York Times

Review:

"Heaney still writes with the passion, freshness and vigor of a young man. Human Chain...feels at times less like a late work than a first book by a remarkably gifted and promising young poet. " Washington Post

Synopsis:

Heaney's new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present — the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered.

Synopsis:

A Boston Globe Best Poetry Book of 2011

Seamus Heaneys new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present—the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered. Human Chain also broaches larger questions of transmission, of lifelines to the inherited past. There are newly minted versions of anonymous early Irish lyrics, poems that stand at the crossroads of oral and written, and other “hermit songs” that weigh equally in their balance the craft of scribe and the poets early calling as scholar. A remarkable sequence entitled “Route 101” plots the descent into the underworld in the Aeneid against single moments in the arc of a life, from a 1950s childhood to the birth of a first grandchild. Other poems display a Virgilian pietas for the dead—friends, neighbors, family—that is yet wholly and movingly vernacular.

Human Chain also includes a poetic “herbal” adapted from the Breton poet Guillevic—lyrics as delicate as ferns, which puzzle briefly over the world of things and landscapes that exclude human speech, while affirming the interconnectedness of phenomena, as of a self-sufficiency in which we too are included

About the Author

Seamus Heaney was born in Northern Ireland. He has published poetry, criticism, and translations that have established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374173517
Author:
Heaney, Seamus
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
Anthologies-United Kingdom Poetry
Subject:
Single Author - British & Irish
Subject:
Subjects & Themes / Family
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
96
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » United Kingdom » Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Human Chain New Hardcover
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Product details 96 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374173517 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nostalgia and memory, numinous visions and the earthy music of compound adjectives together control the short poems and sequences of the Irish Nobel laureate's 14th collection of verse, a work of familiar strengths and unparalleled charm. Old teachers, schoolmates, farmhands, and even the employees of an 'Eelworks' arrive transfigured through Heaney's command of sound: a schoolmate whose family worked in the eel trade 'would ease his lapped wrist// From the flap-mouthed cuff/ Of a jerkin rank with eel oil,// The abounding reek of it/ Among our summer desks.' The title poem applies Heaney's gift for physical mimesis to an image from the day's news: 'bags of meal passed hand to hand... by the aid workers' remind the poet of the grain-sacks he swung and dragged in his own youth. Other pages remember, and praise, libraries and classrooms--from grade school, from Harvard, and from medieval Irish monasteries, with their 'riddle-solving anchorites.' For all the variety of Heaney's framed glimpses, though, the standout poems grow from occasions neither trivial nor topical: Heaney in 2006 had a minor stroke, and the discreet analogies and glimpsed moments in poems such as 'Chanson d'Aventure' (about a ride in an ambulance) and 'In the Attic' ('As I age and blank on names') bring his characteristic warmth and subtlety to mortality, rehabilitation, recent trauma, and old age. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "Heaney is an earthy and mythic poet who channels the music and suffering of Ireland.... These are loamy, time-saturated poems, at once humble and exalted, taproots reaching into the underworld, flowers opening to the sun."
"Review" by , "Human Chain is a gallery of things — of...the heating boiler and the mite box and the gold-banded fountain pen, possessions that also possess, things that seize the people who use them."
"Review" by , "Heaney still writes with the passion, freshness and vigor of a young man. Human Chain...feels at times less like a late work than a first book by a remarkably gifted and promising young poet. "
"Synopsis" by , Heaney's new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present — the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered.
"Synopsis" by ,
A Boston Globe Best Poetry Book of 2011

Seamus Heaneys new collection elicits continuities and solidarities, between husband and wife, child and parent, then and now, inside an intently remembered present—the stepping stones of the day, the weight and heft of what is passed from hand to hand, lifted and lowered. Human Chain also broaches larger questions of transmission, of lifelines to the inherited past. There are newly minted versions of anonymous early Irish lyrics, poems that stand at the crossroads of oral and written, and other “hermit songs” that weigh equally in their balance the craft of scribe and the poets early calling as scholar. A remarkable sequence entitled “Route 101” plots the descent into the underworld in the Aeneid against single moments in the arc of a life, from a 1950s childhood to the birth of a first grandchild. Other poems display a Virgilian pietas for the dead—friends, neighbors, family—that is yet wholly and movingly vernacular.

Human Chain also includes a poetic “herbal” adapted from the Breton poet Guillevic—lyrics as delicate as ferns, which puzzle briefly over the world of things and landscapes that exclude human speech, while affirming the interconnectedness of phenomena, as of a self-sufficiency in which we too are included

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