Electric Light (Paperback)


By Seamus Heaney

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374528416, 112pp.

Publication Date: April 3, 2002

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/1/2001)

List Price: 14.00*
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The powerful collection by the bestselling translator of Beowulf

In the finland of perch, the fenland of alder, on air
That is water, on carpets of Bann stream, on hold
In the everything flows and steady go of the world.
--from "Perch"

Seamus Heaney's collection travels widely in time and space, visiting the sites of the classical world and revisiting the poet's childhood: rural electrification and the light of ancient evenings are reconciled within the orbit of a single lifetime. This is a book about origins (not least, the origins of words) and oracles: the places where things start from, the ground of understanding -- whether in Arcadia or Anahorish, the sanctuary at Epidaurus or the Bann valley in County Derry.

Electric Light ranges from short takes to conversation poems. The pre-Socratic wisdom that everything flows is held in tension with the elegizing of friends and fellow poets. These gifts of recollection renew the poet's calling to assign things their proper names; once again Heaney can be heard exting his word hoard and roll call in this, his eleventh collection.

About the Author

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His poems, plays, translations, and essays include Opened Ground, Electric Light, Beowulf, The Spirit Level, District and Circle, and Finders Keepers. Robert Lowell praised Heaney as the "most important Irish poet since Yeats."

Praise For Electric Light: Poems

“Heaney's status as one of the most significant poets writing in English and the greatest Irish poet since Yeats in already well established. Electric Light is further confirmation of his power to capture and transcend the immediacy of the moment, to find the stillness at the heart of things.” —Joe Treasure, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Electric Light includes poems that are sparks of fulminating retrospection . . . To say it the best I can . . . [Heaney] exercises poetry's power to proclaim truth and the artist's power to make us know that it is a truth we can't be without . . . Engagement is the heart of a poem . . . and Mr. Heaney's strongest engagement in this collection is with time: the past that lives, the present that dies.” —Richard Eder, The New York Times

“Arguably the finest poet now writing in English.” —James Shapiro, The New York Times Book Review