Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter break?

After one more hectic week of meetings and activities, the pace of my academic year will begin to slow down; final papers will come in, my attention can withdraw to concentrate on marking them and dwelling on my classes, I wil not have to  do a lot of writing over Thanksgiving break (unlike the past two years), the MLA will be in and I can read some new books, something which i have had all too little time to do recently--'new" in the sense of recently published, that is.

One book I have had a chance to read that I find I like more than does the consensus is Seamus Heaney's latest, Human Chain, which I reviewed for a reference compendium. William Logan slapped around the book a bit in his Times review, less really for any inherent deficiency than Heaney is a big target waiting to be taken down a notch. This is unfair to Heaney who has continued to write good poetry distinct from his earlier work if manifesting a continuity with it. I also find myself gravitating to different poems in this new volume than have most of the reviewers; the story the news headline, are the poems directly and indirectly about Heaney's recovery from a stroke, but for me the heart of Human Chain is in the translations from Pascoli and Guillevic. In the latter, "A Herbal" (sic) even the grass is alive with motility and tension, "It too takes issue.now sets its face/to the wind". What seems low-key in this book is throbbing with life, of one bends to examine closely enough. In any event go out and buy the book; don't listen too the consensus! In fact, don;t everlasting to the consensus, other than on those occasions where it happens to be right!

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