The Sign of the Cross: Review of The Government of the Tongue
Seamus Heaney’s new collection of critical pieces falls into two sections. The first brings together reviews, articles and lectures concerned with some poets who are more or less close to Heaney’s own work: Kavanagh, Larkin, Walcott, all writers who problematise the notion of the poet’s (literal) ‘place’, the poet’s ‘Here’-ness, as Larkin might have thought it. This is followed by considerations of a body of work which raises questions of the poet’s place in language — poetry in translation — firstly from the Irish and then from the languages of the Eastern bloc. Finally, the second section of the book comprises Heaney’s ruminations on ‘the government of the tongue’ in Auden, Lowell and Plath, the substance of his T.S. Eliot memorial lectures.
KeywordsDust Lution Mast Poss Verse
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- 1.Lowell’s refusal to read at the White House in 1965 is documented by Steven Gould Axelrod (Robert Lowell: Life and Art [Princeton, NJ, 1978], pp. 180–1. [Ed.]Google Scholar