Went to see Seamus Heaney read last night, at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. His reading coincided with the publication of his new collection District and Circle.Seamus, Ivana and I bumped into him on the street outside the Y, where Seamus Mc reminded Famous Seamus of the time the latter saved the former from a hiding at St. Columb’s in Derry…

The actual reading was mesmerising; Heaney read first from the earliest works in his oeuvre in Death Of A Naturalist, including Mid-Term Break, continuing down through the forty years before delving into District and Circle and ending with The Blackbird of Glanmore.

His introductions to the poems were particularly enlightening, and allowed us to see how he was, with the maturity of years, revisiting the themes of his earlier work. This was manifest, for example, in the Blackbird of Glanmore which contains an allusion to the ill omen that portended the loss of his brother.

His early poetry is wonderfully evocative of his time and place, resonating with vivid imagery and a masterful use of language. District and Circle is full of the same lyrical qualities.

It was a wonderful, special night.


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