Seamus Heaney: District and Circle

(6180 words)

In his millennial collection District and Circle (2006), Seamus Heaney circles backward in time to recover memories of previous poems and the districts of his rural Irish childhood: Mossbawn, Anahorish and Moyulla. The desire to renew one’s attachment to a district arises in part as a response to the scale of dislocation caused by 9/11 and global terrorism. Like the District and Circle lines of the London Tube, the journey he takes is both linear and circular – a downward spiral in the manner of Dante’s pilgrim. Thus Heaney’s collection exemplifies, with brilliant and beautiful economy, how the ancient genre of a descent to the underworld still serves to frame and make sense of individual experience …

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Falconer, Rachel. "District and Circle". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 March 2014; last revised .
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]