Seamus Deane | Critical Review by Gavin Ewart

This literature criticism consists of approximately 1 page of analysis & critique of Seamus Deane.
This section contains 288 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Gavin Ewart

Critical Review by Gavin Ewart

SOURCE: "Accepting the Inevitable," in Times Literary Supplement, No. 3948, November 25, 1977, p. 1381.

In the following excerpt, Ewart assesses the themes, poetic diction, and imagery of Rumours.

Rumours is Seamus Deane's second book. The simplicity of the equivalents invoked (Governmental kindness=school milk=cold, inhuman) marks it as not very sophisticated—though none the worse for that. He uses the unrhymed lyric mostly but also, not quite so successful, the spasmodically rhyming lyric. Poems about his relationship with his father ("The Birthday Gift" for example) are some of the best. The language is apt but sometimes on the edge of rhetoric ("Little phoenix. The cold ash / Of your feathers holds no spark / On which I may breathe") and sometimes almost over the edge ("And came into the light their grooms / Blood-stained from their honeymoons"). Potent images are within his grasp—"The steeple of slamming iron let fall / Delicate ikons of tinkling glass" (church bells); but sometimes he may be writing more wisely and more glibly than his experience entitles him to ("Piety and rage / Change their ratios with age") and sometimes the rhymes force archaic words on him (ruth/truth). Poetic diction still lurks in the background ("Their world was as a cloud"). "A Fable", about Belfast's sectarian violence, is a tale confused in the telling—the dead body of what could have been a good poem.

These are faults, but there are some faultless poems, within their limits highly satisfying: "The Brethren" (rhymed memories of childhood), "Shelter" (wartime reminiscence), "Scholar I", "Scholar II" (life and lit), "Signals" (a love poem), and "Watching. It Come" (life and love, an excellent stoical rhymed lyric). The book, as a whole hints at even better poems on the way.

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This section contains 288 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Gavin Ewart
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