Books · Poetry · Read in 2022 · Reviews

(poetry) Book Thoughts: Wintering Out (Seamus Heaney)

Maybe this will need another read before it clicks


Title: Wintering Out
Author: Seamus Heaney (Northern Ireland/UK)
Genre: Poetry
First published: 1972
Edition: Paperback, published by Faber & Faber

‘Seamus Heaney has gone beyond the themes of his earlier poetry and has made the giant step towards the most ambitious, most intractable themes of maturity. The power of this book comes from a sense that he is reaching out towards a type of desolation and of isolation without which no imagination can be seen to have grown up.’ Eavan Boland, Irish Times


I find poetry notoriously hard to put my thoughts together on. It’s so subjective. To the person, to the mood, even to the moment and what has been read before.

Having recently read some poetry I absolutely loved, this one felt no more than decent for me. There were a few poems in this collection that I really enjoyed and felt, but the majority did not hit home for me this time. They did feel better when I read them out loud and found the cadence in the words.

I know that poetry can hit differently on different days and words that make no sense on a random Sunday in February may flood the mind with meaning on another random day in August. I will definitely read this one again and I do want to read more collections by Seamus Heaney. Sometimes it takes a while for the words to take shape in my mind, and I may just have to read a few by him before I ‘get’ his poetry. I did not feel this one alone gave me enough to understand the poet’s words.

As a poet, respected as he is, Heaney is yet to bowl me over, but this collection did make me want to seek out more, so I guess it made enough of an impact.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Burial at Thebes (Seamus Heaney, Sophocles)

Heaney, Seamus - The Burial at Thebes


Title: The Burial At Thebes: Sophocles’ Antigone
Author: Seamus Heaney (adaptation)
Genre: Poetry / Play
First published: 2004
Edition: Paperback, published by Faber & Faber in 2005

It took me few pages before I got into this short story of verses, but when it ended I felt sad it had. This is a sad story of a new king who won’t allow an opposing warrior a proper burial. When Antigone, the warrior’s sister performs burial rites despite it being forbidden, she is sentenced to death.

I had not expected to like this as much as I did. My rating is hesitant as I am not sure how to rate such a short, but powerful work of tragedy. It was classical, but very readable. I have not read the original, so I cannot compare, but it makes me want to check it out, and when adaptations do that, it is a wonderful thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book and I have rated it as such.  I am glad I finally picked it off my shelves to read.