This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney

Death of a Naturalist (original 1966; edition 1975)

by Seamus Heaney (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
501329,012 (4.04)42
Title:Death of a Naturalist
Authors:Seamus Heaney (Author)
Info:Faber and Faber (1975), Edition: New edition, 64 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney (1966)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 42 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
Heaney's first collection is that slender volume of poetry you wish you'd written. For the most part thematically organized, the poems show Heaney's early promise and sophistication. They also demonstrate the young poet's sometimes-laborious use of rhyme and word choice. An interesting comparison to his more seasoned works, such as North, which includes my favorites, the bog poems. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
A straightforward and relaxing collection of poetry. Fans of Robert Frost and Billy Collins will enjoy Heaney's work here---as a collection, the poems stand together powerfully and gracefully. Worth exploring and re-exploring for any poetry readers. ( )
1 vote whitewavedarling | Dec 27, 2010 |
First published in 1966, this debut collection by Seamus Heaney signals the talent that was to win him the Nobel Prize in 1995. Largely addressing his rural childhood in County Derry, the volume begins with "Digging", a poem which encapsulates Heaney's early concerns about roots, belonging and the supple joy of language. As he watches his father digging the flowerbed, he recalls him working the potato drills and lines of turf 20 years before. "By God, the old man could handle a spade. / Just like his old man." Heaney is renowned for getting inside language and revelling in its sensual glut. He talks of "the squelch and slap / Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge / Through living roots." He too severs roots, being the first generation not to depend on the land. "But I've no spade to follow men like them. / Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I'll dig with it." Heaney has the bewildering genius of being loose and tight at the same time, conversational and colloquial as well as formally rigorous. He's equally at home and as wildly inventive in blank and rhyming verse. In Death of a Naturalist, he takes the reader to the festering flax-dam where "bluebottles / Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell" and he gathered "the warm thick slobber / Of frogspawn." He delights in excess, in textures--"a glossy purple clot" of ripe blackberry, its flesh like "thickened wine". "For the Commander of the Eliza" is savage in its depiction of the famine: "Six grown men with gaping mouths and eyes / Bursting the sockets like spring onions in drills." The captain of the ship refuses to give out food on Whitehall's orders. In "At a Potato Digging", Heaney compares contemporary potato-gatherers at their "seasonal altar of the sod" and the piles of spuds, "live skulls, blind-eyed" to those who "wolfed the blighted root and died". He renders the famine unavoidably stark and present. Almost every poem demonstrates his resourceful, elastic use of language and Heaney ably achieves what he aims to do: "I rhyme / To see myself, to set the darkness echoing." --Cherry Smyth

Reissues Seamus Heaney's collection, which on its appearance in 1966 won the Cholmondeley Award, the E C Gregory Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.
2 vote antimuzak | Jan 24, 2007 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.04)
1 1
2 1
3 15
3.5 5
4 33
4.5 3
5 24

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,033,157 books! | Top bar: Always visible