Tag Archives: Seamus Haney

Poetry and Me

I was introduced to poetry in third, or maybe fourth grade, by Mr. Hyde back in Pistol River School. He gave all of us a general knowledge test. We all flunked poetry. Before we knew it, we were told to memorize Carl Sandburg’s poem “Fog”:

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Beowulf (tr. Haney) [Repost May 2003]

So it is with no immoderate disbelief that I heartily commend an anonymous poet to the modern reader. This poet’s work is extremely powerful, and Seamus Haney has translated it to excellent effect. Simply put, Haney has breathed life into this remarkable work for me. It is a delight to read (I’ve read it twice now). Haney’s publisher has prepared his text, and on the opposing page, has reproduced the original text itself. The Old English is exhilarating–I enjoy nothing more than conquering a few words in this tongue. I cannot vouch for Haney’s accuracy–I am no expert in Old English, but his language has the touch than only a poet could lend to this work. He has also composed an introduction to the text, which I was glad to read, and has produced genealogies that are quite useful for the reader, in order to unravel the snarled lineages of the Scandinavian clans.

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