100 Poems

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Seamus Heaney's ability to communicate in images and metaphor are on clear display in the latest anthology of his poetry, entitled "100 Poems." He was a master with words and imagery. He was able in just a few lines to create in the imagination a world that put you in his mind regarding an event like his father's death.

The collection was curated by his family, now five years removed from his death. He had assembled some of his own collections of past poems, but this collection feels more personal and more revealing, not just based on popularity or literary acclaim. This collection is a must-have for any fans of Heaney's poetry or someone who has never encountered his work in the past.

I received this as an eBook from Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the title. I did not receive any compensation from either company. The opinions expressed herein are completely my own.
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When Irish poet Seamus Heaney died six years ago, he left behind a substantial body of work, including twelve individual volumes, three volumes of selected poems, and several noted translations of poetic works. Although he discussed an introductory volume of his selected poems with his editor, that volume never came to fruition during his lifetime. As undoubtedly the greatest Irish poet of the last century, and one of the most heralded global poets, an introductory collection of his work was notably missing.

In the intervening years since his death, his wife and three children endeavored to fill this gap, and the newly released 100 Poems is the fruit of their labors. In a brief introductory note, the family expresses the hope that “everyone will find something here to cherish or be surprised by: that a newcomer will enjoy reading these poems for the first time, and that the long-time devotee might rediscover a forgotten favourite or simply listen again to the poetic voice as it changes and matures over the course of years.”

100 Poems contains many of Heaney’s most familiar poems – including the three initial poems in the collection, “Digging,” “Death of a Naturalist,” and “Blackberry-Picking” – (a full list of all 100 poems is available through the Look Inside feature on Amazon ) and as such this volume is primed to become the gold standard for introducing students and other poetry lovers to Heaney’s work. It offers just enough of a taste of Heaney’s finest poems that readers will want to dig deeper into his body of work.

If you aren’t familiar with Heaney’s poetry, 100 Poems offers you a superb place to dive in; if you are already a fan of his work, this volume presents a simple and affordable way to share your love for Heaney’s work with those who have not yet been immersed in it.

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He has authored a number of books including Reading for the Common Good, and most recently How the Body of Christ Talks.
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A collection of 100 poems by Seamus Heaney, chosen by members of his family in memory of Heaney. In the introduction, we learn that family members chose poems that were their favorite, Heaney's favorite, or had special meaning to them.  While I would have found it interesting to read a few sentences in front of each poem to learn why they held special meaning, that doesn't happen.  Each poem stands on its own and invites the reader to enjoy them as individuals.  Poems of love, life, and death as only Seamus Heaney could do them, the words are nearly tangible and bring the reader into the scents and sounds of each 100 worlds.
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"100 Poems" is a fantastic collection of Heaney's work. I'll definitely be recommending this one to our patrons and friends.
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A collection of lovely poems spanning Heaney's career and a wide variety of subjects. He's got a way with words - the way he can take something mundane, like a subway ride, and turn it into art, is astounding. I really enjoyed this.
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Having never heard of Seamus Heaney before, I don't know what compelled me to request this book of 100 poems to read and review, but I'm glad I did.

He's quite gifted with his words, drawing a wide variety of detailed pictures in my mind with his writing. I see the sights, I hear the sounds, I feel the heat, the cold, the wind, or rain along with the emotions he wants to me to feel, this gifted poet Seamus Heaney who captured my imagination so that I nearly read the book straight through but for one pausing. "Paint me another word picture, please!" and with a turn of the page, he obliges.

Put together by his family as a celebration of his life and life's work, they have found a new celebrant in me!! 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Strauss & Giroux for allowing me to read an ARC of this fine work in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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This is a wonderful collection of Heaney's work. I've not read too much poetry since university, but in recent months have been getting back into it. My favorite poems were "Scaffolding" and "Casualty", but there are so many gems here.
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I could not delay reading this collection of poems any longer. After a couple of recent excursions into more modern anthologies, there was an impetus within to read a Ireland’s treasure, the sadly missed, Seamus Heaney.
Prior to his death this prodigious poet was approached about a similar venture. It seemed respectful and appropriate that 5 years after he passed, his family helped bring his works together for this special selection of 100 poems.
In a forward on behalf of the family, his daughter Catherine provides some background into how they chose just fragment of his lifetime’s work.
It is a celebration, and will resonate with those who already adore his poems and win many new admirers.
For my part, I was vaguely aware of some of the more well known verse from the ‘troubles’. I did not have a grasp of his range and extent of poetic voice. 
As the family recall; they miss that distinctive voice reading his poems and so I have subsequently listened to a few and this has added to my enjoyment.
Here are classics: like Digging; Scaffolding; Two Lorries and my favourite Whatever You Say, Say Nothing.
I also enjoyed: Miracle; District and Circle; St Kevin and the Blackbird; The Skylight andThe Railway Children.

A traditional poet with and enduring voice.

“Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four-foot box in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear,

A four-foot box, a foot for every year.”

“After they shot dead
The thirteen men in Derry.
PARAS THIRTEEN, the walls said,
BOGSIDE NIL. That Wednesday 
Everybody held
Their breath and trembled.”

“‘To be called a British soldier while my country
Has no place among nations....’ You were rent
By shrapnel six weeks later. ‘I am sorry
That party politics should divide our tents.’”

“Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives -
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.”

“She touched our cheeks. She let us touch her braille
In books like books wallpaper patterns came in.
Her hands were active and her eyes were full
Of open darkness and a watery shine.”

Read it and make your own mind up.
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Selection of 100 of Heaney’s poems chosen by his family. Wonderful collection, ideal for those familiar with his work as well as those new to it
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This is a lovely book—I wanted to race through it because the poems, each personally selected by Heaney’s widow and three children, are so beautiful, but I forced myself to slow down and give each one the time it deserves. (Even so, I still read it in four chunks.) If you’re already a fan of Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, this book will pull all your favorites (for me, “Digging,” “Mid-Term Break,” “Scaffolding,” “Casualty,” and “Postscript”) into one collection, and the chronological arrangement reveals how his poetic voice and the themes he addresses change and develop over time. For those readers not familiar with Heaney, this is the perfect introduction. 

In the Family Note at the beginning of the collection, Heaney’s daughter, Catherine Heaney, writes, “This collection is intended as a celebration of the extraordinary person who gave us these poems. He himself once said that he had begun to think of life as ‘a series of ripples widening out from an original centre’; we hope this book serves as a reminder of the power and vitality of his work, and a testament to its continuing life, rippling outwards with every new reader.” It deserves many of them. Highly recommended and one I will be buying many copies of as gifts.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
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Since high school, I knew Seamus Heaney as the name on my copy of Beowulf I planned to read and have yet to. I was vaguely aware that he was a poet. However, I recognized the very first poem in the collection, “Digging,” as a poem I studied in grade 11 English. I kept reading and was surprised at how much I really enjoyed the rest of the poems.
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