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Showing posts from December 23, 2012

It was a whole new sweetness

Electric Light, by Seamus Heaney.   (Faber ISBN 0571207626, Farrar, Straus & Giroux ISBN 0374146837, published 2001) Review by Philip Harvey first published in Tin Tean. Seamus Heaney keeps rolling along. His ordered cadences and grounded tones, we can also say ground tones both in the sense of gravelly and well-honed, come at us familiarly in this new collection. Linguistically, Heaney continues to behave as though the major poetic fashions of his own lifetime never happened. At times, the brilliant and meticulous measure of his lines sound like the last word in Johnsonian impeccability. We always find him with both feet firmly on the earth, a case of gravity empowering gravity. Certainly, at the end of the 20 th century, it’s a relief to find a poet who remains so consistently sane. Some of those infamous preoccupations, synonymous with being Heaney, occupy these 79 pages. First, there are the wily analogies he uses to talk of Ireland, “the child that’s d