Bookish Links — June 2018

Joy Clarkson, of the podcast Speaking with Joy, is running an online book club for C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce! We’re five chapters in already, but the chapters are short so there’s time to catch up. More info here. Just in time for Bloomsday, The New York Times dropped this longform article about anContinue reading “Bookish Links — June 2018”

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Literary Rediscoveries of 2017

These lists just keep getting longer! Per usual for this time of year, here’s a list of classic literary paraphernalia that was released or rediscovered for the first time this year. I’ve tried to make it as complete as possible, but if you know of any other previously “lost” works that were found or published this year, let me know in the comments.

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Bookish Links — December 2017

“We believed that poetry, the opposite of propaganda, should encourage people to think and feel for themselves: it should appeal to their ‘generous instinct,’ as MacNeice said in the violent 1930s”: the New Statesman this lecture by Northern Irish poet Michael Longley recently published on the Troubles and the poetry that came out of it.

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Fall Library Sale

It’s that time of year again! Our local library recently had its semi-annual used book sale. Usually, I’ll pick up ten or twelve books at these things—this time, I got 27. Anyhow . . . A quick disclaimer: the links to the Book Depository are affiliate links. The Amazon links, however, are not. A fewContinue reading “Fall Library Sale”

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“Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney

Today, on the fourth anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death, I thought I’d share this recording of a reading he gave in New York in 1971, and in particular his reading of one of my favorite poems of his, “Personal Helicon.” “Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney for Michael Longley As a child, they could not keepContinue reading ““Personal Helicon” by Seamus Heaney”

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A Few Words about First Lines: Poetry Edition

As promised, here’s the companion to my post on opening lines, this time turning the focus to poetry. John Donne, “The Canonization” For God’s sake, hold your tongue and let me love, Come on, who (besides Samuel Johnson) doesn’t love a beginning like that? It’s short and snappy, it’s to-the-point, and it brings that immediacyContinue reading “A Few Words about First Lines: Poetry Edition”

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Book Review: Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Dennis O’Driscoll

As far as I know, there exists no full-length biography of Seamus Heaney. I thought that was an odd omission for the world’s biographers to make, until I heard about this book, a marathon series of interviews covering the entirety of Heaney’s life and career, from early childhood to the publication of what was then his latest book, District and Circle.

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Bookish Links — March 2017

It’s the last day of Reading Ireland Month, so this month’s installment of “Bookish Links” is going to include only links about Irish books and writers. First off, there’s the official Reading Ireland Month link-up, which you can check out here. Here, Seamus Heaney’s daughter Catherine writes for The Guardian about the famous photograph ofContinue reading “Bookish Links — March 2017”

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Book Review: History of the Rain by Niall Williams

A while back, a friend of mine, after finding out that I love Irish literature, recommended this book to me. I’m terribly glad that he did. The one-sentence review he gave of it on his blog sums it up pretty nicely: “This is a thing of beauty.” Just the same, I’d like to add a few words to that.

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Book Review: Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane

Reading in the Dark follows its young, unnamed narrator throughout his life in the Northern Irish city of Derry just before the Troubles. As the son of a working-class Catholic family, he already faces challenges that most boys his age would not usually meet. Soon, though, his life takes a much darker turn when his dying grandfather confesses to a crime committed decades earlier. Little by little, this boy begins to piece together the history that his family has tried for so long to keep hidden.

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On Yeats’s “Mongan Thinks of His Past Greatness”

While I’m devoting an entire month to Irish literature, I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite Irish poems, W. B. Yeats’s “Mongan Thinks of His Past Greatness.” It’s not a very popular poem, for reasons which will become clear in a minute. Nevertheless, it was one of the first Yeats poems I everContinue reading “On Yeats’s “Mongan Thinks of His Past Greatness””

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Book Review: Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney

Welcome to the second week of Reading Ireland Month! You can learn more about the event at 746 Books, and check out the rest of the Reading Ireland posts here.
So, a while back, I bought a copy of Poems: 1965-1975, a collection containing all of the poems from Seamus Heaney’s first four books. Or, so I thought. Once I got it home, I noticed this little note on the copyright page:

Seven poems that appeared in the original edition of Death of a Naturalist are not included in this volume.

I assumed that this must be the work of some nosy editor at FSG, but then I happened to come across this excerpt from one of Dennis O’Driscoll’s interviews with Heaney:

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Is this just fantasy?

I love the movies, which is why I like to blame them for everything.

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