"In transmitting his feelings into words, he masters the art of reporting his own emotional responses to the life around him in language that is authentic and totally accurate."

You might know Seamus Heaney for his lyric poetry or his famed translation of Beowulf. Chances are, though, you might not know him at all. Author Mulrooney aims to change that and make more people aware of Heaney's influential work through this book, which is both a biography of the Irish poet and a celebration of his life.

This is not your typical biography. Instead of beginning at birth and ending at death, the book starts with the death of Heaney's little brother and ends with a kite, floating all alone away in the wind. A large part of the book is in the words of the man himself, from poetry and prose pieces to more personal sources like interviews and journal entries. The author provides analysis and a guided reading of Heaney's works, organized not by time but by theme and influence—from brother to father to mother and onward. Since the poet's works are largely influenced by his memories as well as the events occurring around him at the time, both socially and politically, this grouping works well to highlight the key events and people that led to the beautiful words the man put to page.

Readers develop a sense of intimacy with Heaney by learning about his views on life, death, and everything in between. Our lives are often shaped by our memories, and Heaney was an expert at getting them across using written words. Whether you are a longtime fan, you have a copy of Beowulf sitting around from your college years, or you've never even heard of Seamus Heaney, it's worth picking up this deep exploration of the man's works.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home