District and Circle is a poetry collection by Seamus Heaney, who received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. It was published in 2006 and won the 2006 T. S. Eliot Prize, the most prestigious poetry award in the UK.[1][2] The collection also won the Irish Times "Poetry Now Award".[note 1]

District and Circle
Cover of British hardback edition
AuthorSeamus Heaney
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenrePoetry Collection
PublisherFaber and Faber (UK)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (U.S.)
Publication date
1 April 2006 (1st edition)
Media typePrint
ISBN0-571-23096-2 (UK hardback)
ISBN 0-374-53081-5 (U.S. hardback)
ISBN 0-571-23097-0 (UK paperback)
ISBN 0-374-53081-5 (U.S. paperback)
Preceded byElectric Light 
Followed byHuman Chain 

Reporting on the Eliot Prize, the BBC commented in 2007, "The award is yet more confirmation, as if it was needed, of Heaney's reputation as, arguably, the English language's greatest living bard, whom author Malcolm Bradbury once described as 'the poet of poets'." In 2013, Heaney's volumes made up two-thirds of the sales of living poets in Britain.[4]

The poet dedicated District and Circle[note 2] to the Canadian professor of Irish Studies Ann Saddlemyer.[5] Heaney has been recorded reading this collection on the Seamus Heaney Collected Poems album.

Contents edit

  1. The Turnip-Snedder
  2. Shiver
  3. Polish Sleepers
  4. Anahorish 1944
  5. To Mick Joyce in Heaven
  6. The Aerodrome
  7. Anything Can Happen
  8. Helmet
  9. Out of Shot
  10. Rilke: After the Fire
  11. District and Circle
  12. To George Seferis in the Underworld
  13. Wordsworth's Skates
  14. The Harrow-Pin
  15. Poet to Blacksmith
  16. Midnight Anvil
  17. Súgán
  18. Senior Infants 1. The Sally Rod
  19. Senior Infants 2. A Chow
  20. Senior Infants 3. One Christmas Day in the Morning
  21. The Nod
  22. A Clip
  23. Edward Thomas on the Lagans Road
  24. Found Prose 1. The Lagans Road
  25. Found Prose 2. Tall Dames
  26. Found Prose 3. Boarders
  27. The Lift
  28. Nonce Words
  29. Stern
  30. Out of this World 1. 'Like Everybody Else...'
  31. Out of this World 2. Brancardier
  32. Out of this World 3. Saw Music
  33. In Iowa
  34. Höfn
  35. On the Spot
  36. Tollund Man in Springtime
  37. Moyulla
  38. Planting the Alder
  39. Tate's Avenue
  40. A Hagging Match
  41. Fiddleheads
  42. To Pablo Neruda in Tamlaghtduff
  43. Home Help 1. Helping Sarah
  44. Home Help 2. Chairing Mary
  45. Rilke: The Apple Orchard
  46. Quitting Time
  47. Home Fires 1. A Scuttle for Dorothy Wordsworth
  48. Home Fires 2. A Stove Lid for W.H. Auden
  49. The Birch Gove
  50. Cavafy: 'The Rest I'll Speak of to the Ones Below in Hades’
  51. In a Loaning
  52. The Blackbird of Glanmore

Critical reception edit

The poetry in District and Circle has been widely and positively reviewed by the critics.[6] In the Observer Review Andrew Motion wrote, "Due in large part to the richness of his language, and also to the undiminished freshness of his response to time-honoured things, its consolidations have the feel of celebrations. The book does not merely dig in, but digs deep."[7] The poet and critic Stephanie Burt also praised the book, writing that "anyone who isn’t impressed isn’t listening."[8] Brad Leithauser, in The New York Times, praised Heaney for "saying something extraordinary while, line by line, conveying a sense that this is something an ordinary person might actually say".[9]

The critic Peter McDonald said "The book contains marvellous prose-poems on the peopled landscapes of his schooldays, along with sonnets - seemingly effortless in their sheer fluency, but memorably tough and intent".[10] Stephen Knight wrote that District and Circle was not "as immediate as his earlier work," but he still considered the book to be successful on its own terms, characterizing it as "a late flowering."[11]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Heaney won the Irish Times "Poetry Now Award" again in 2011 for his collection, Human Chain.[3]
  2. ^ The title alludes to how he used to travel to work in the 1960s on the District and Circle lines on the London Underground.[4]

References edit

  1. ^ "Seamus Heaney". Poems and Poets. Poetry Foundation. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  2. ^ "More about the Prize". Poetry Book Society. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  3. ^ Heaney wins 'Irish Times' poetry award Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Irish Times, 2011-03-26. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Seamus Heaney". Faces of the week. BBC News. 19 January 2007. Archived from the original on 5 October 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  5. ^ O'Donoghue, Bernard (2012). The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney (Cambridge Companions to Literature). Cambridge University Press. p. 120 (footnote 23). ISBN 9780521838825.
  6. ^ Murphy, Kevin (Summer 2007). "District and Circle" (PDF). Journal of the American Irish Historical Society. 19 (3): 1–10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
    Walters, Henry (2006). "Plying the Trade". Harvard Book Review. 8 (1). Archived from the original on 22 August 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
    Martiny, Erik (13 October 2011). A Companion to Poetic Genre. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9781444344295.
    Fawbert, David. "District and Circle". Connecting with Seamus Heaney. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  7. ^ Motion, Andrew (1 April 2006). "Digging Deep". Guardian - Observer. Archived from the original on 22 September 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  8. ^ Burt, Stephen. "Stephen Burt reviews District and Circle by Seamus Heaney". Poetry Matters. Tower Poetry. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  9. ^ Leithauser, Brad (16 July 2006). "Wild Irish". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  10. ^ McDonald, Peter. "The Clutch Of Earth". Literary Review. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  11. ^ Knight, Stephen (9 April 2006). "The bog man cometh (again)". independent. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2013.

External links edit