Seamus Deane | Critical Review by J. T. Keefe

This literature criticism consists of approximately 11 pages of analysis & critique of Seamus Deane.
This section contains 239 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Patricia Craig

Critical Review by J. T. Keefe

SOURCE: A review of History Lessons, in World Literature Today, Vol. 58, No. 4, Autumn, 1984, p. 608.

In the following review, Keefe focuses on the emergence of a distinct persona in the poems of History Lessons.

Seamus Deane is a distinguished member of a literary movement that has emerged from the North of Ireland and has the "Troubles" of the last few decades as its mainspring. His third book of poems, History Lessons, continues the poet's quest for an answer to the intolerable burden of history and the bloody explosions it fuels. The poems are wrought with tension and a nervosity that in the personal lyrics occasionally tend to overwhelm that fragile form. In "Breaking Wood," however, there is an autumnal resignation as the poem moves serenely and surely to a memorable conclusion.

Two poems in an assured and commanding voice stand out as examples of a direction Deane is creatively pursuing. The dramatic content of both hints at a dramatic persona the poet has hitherto not allowed full play. "Christmas at Beaconsfield" is an impressive and clever dramatic evocation needing only, perhaps, the actual presence of the poet himself—as a character, ghost, observer—rather than a distancing of himself with "imagining …" and "almost certainly…." Dramatic command is at the center of the poetic force of "Directions." In these poems we can detect the poet discarding tentativeness for a firm intention of moving to center stage.

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This section contains 239 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Patricia Craig
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