This collection of Seamus Heaney's work, especially in the vivid and surprising twelve-line poems entitled "Squarings", shows he is ready to re-imagine experience and "to credit marvels". The title poem, "Seeing Things", is typical of the whole book. It begins with memories of an actual event, then moves towards the visionary while never relinquishing its feel for the textures and sensations of the world. Translations of Virgil and Homer provide a prelude and a coda where motifs implicit in the earlier lyrics are given direct expression in extended narratives. Journeys to underworlds and otherworlds correspond to the journeys made by poetic language itself. From the author of "The Haw Lantern", "Wintering Out", "Station Island" and "North".
Suggestively framed by the poet's translations of excerpts from the Aeneid and the Inferno , this collection combines Heaney's richly textured style with visionary intent: the desire to invoke his dead father. Just as Aeneas begs for one meeting with his dear father, so does Heaney (Selected Poems 1966 - 1987) , and much of the book records those glimpses. In the title poem he recollects ``That afternoon / I saw him face to face, he came to me / With his damp footprints out of the river, / And there was nothing between us there / That might not still be happily ever after.''18 Heaney's spiritual excursions, reminiscent of Dante's, to the ghostly past and underworld will remind readers of the difficulties of voyages of the soul: ``So draw no attention, steer and concentrate / On the space that flees between like a speeded-up / Meltdown of souls from the straw-flecked ice of hell.''84 Although readers may sometimes get lost in the windings of the otherworld so vigorously evoked, most will judge the journey well worth the effort.