At the centre of this collection, which includes groups of elegies and love poems, there is a short sonnet sequence which concentrates themes apparent elsewhere in the book: the individual's responsibility for his own choices, the artist's commitment to his vocation, the vulnerability of all in the face of circumstance and death. Throughout the volume Heaney's outstanding gifts, his eye, his ear, his understanding of the poetic language are on display - this is a book we cant do without . (Martin Dodsworth, Guardian ).
Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966, and was followed by poetry, criticism and translations which established him as the leading poet of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year, for The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999). Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008; Human Chain, his last volume of poems, was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for Best Collection. He died in 2013. His translation of Virgil's Aeneid Book VI was published posthumously in 2016 to critical acclaim.