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Station Island


The title poem of this collection, Seamus Heaney's first after "Field Work" (1979), is set on an island that has been a site of pilgrimage in Ireland for over a thousand years. Heaney's pilgrim is on an inner journey and proceeds through a series of dream encounters which lead him back into the world that formed him, and then forward to face the crises of the present. Writing in "The Washington Post Book World, " Hugh Kenner called this narrative sequence "as fine a long poem as we've had in fifty years." It is preceded by a section of richly meditative lyrics ("Wry, spare, compressed, subtle, strange, they have a furtive intensity and exicitement." - Richard Ellmann, "The New York Review of Books" ), and leads naturally into a third group of poems, in which the poet's voice is at one with the voice of the legendary Sweeney, a king of Ulster whose story Heaney translated from the Irish. Hide synopsis

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