North. First Paperback Edition. London: Faber, 1975. Pp, 73. Stiff wrappers lightly faded, contents clean & bright.
A collection of poems in which the Irish experience is refracted through images drawn from different parts of the Northern European experience. Heaney contemplates the violence on his home ground in relation to memories of the Scandinavian and English invasions which have marked Irish history so indelibly. Heaney claimed that his poetry "is not sectarian, but it has been deeply affected by the smells of sectarianism. Poetry works by association and subtlety and the cultural load implicit in a word."
Whilst many commentators heralded this collection as his greatest yet, there was some resistance to it in Northern Ireland, prompted by a review by a fellow Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson in The Honest Ulsterman, who claimed that Heaney was the " laureate of violence - a mythmaker, an anthropologist of ritual killing". The collection was to win the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize and the W. H. Smith Memorial Prize.