I dreamt we slept in a moss in Donegal
On turf banks under blankets, with our faces
Exposed all night in a wetting drizzle,
Pallid as the dripping sapling birches.
Lorenzo and Jessica in a cold climate.
Diarmuid and Grainne waiting to be found.
Darkly asperged and censed, we were laid out
Like breathing effigies on a raised ground.
And in that dream I dreamt—how like you this?—
Our first night years ago in that hotel
When you came with your deliberate kiss
To raise us towards the lovely and painful
Covenants of flesh; our separateness;
The respite in our dewy dreaming faces.
“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.
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”
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”
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””
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:
I had a birthday recently. I don’t like to name the exact date online because identity theft, but what I can tell you is that it has passed and I got some books as a result of it. Here’s the list: 1: Hammer Is the Prayer: Selected Poems by Christian Wiman Wiman is one ofContinue reading “Birthday Books”
Around this time last year, I published a list of 10 of my favorite love poems. That post got such a good response from you guys that I decided I’d do another list this year. Without my really planning it that way, last year’s list skewed a little more heavily toward older poetry, whereas thisContinue reading “Poems for Valentine’s Day”
Two-and-a-half years after starting this site, I figure it’s time I get my blogging act together and start a regular, end-of-the-year wrap-up series. I’m afraid I can’t provide you with a grand total of books I read in 2016, A) because I wasn’t keeping track and B) because whatever the final tally is, I’m sureContinue reading “Favorite Books of 2016”
As if you needed another reason to read books: it turns out reading might help you live longer. This month, a previously-undiscovered castle was excavated in the UK . . . and it might be tied to the historical King Arthur. Remember Andrew Gulli? The guy who found and published a lost F. Scott FitzgeraldContinue reading “Bookish Links—August 2016”
As part of the “Shakespeare Lives” festivities, the British Council launched a new feature on their site called “Mix the Play.” Basing this feature around Act 3, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you choose how the scene will look and sound and the site returns a video of that scene performed as youContinue reading “Bookish Links — June 2016”
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Since this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a free-for-all, I thought I’d go back in the archives and do a topic I missed a while ago, “Books and Music.” Below is a list of songs that, for one reason or another,Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Music and Books”