Heaney’s pictures from boyhood and adolescence the 1940s and 50s era are the richer for his minute and often sensuous concentration on detail. Here he ponders on the properties of a household fuel, the way his family adapted to shortage and austerity and the emotional leftovers of this temps retrouvé. Look too for one of the collection’s themes – weight felt, weight lifted. i Heaney’s post-WWII boyhood featured a coal product unknown to current consumers (slack). He sets out to describe its consistency – more than black powder (not coal dust), something with a little more bulk (weighty grounds of coal). It arrived at the farm conventionally enough (by lorryman … in open bags) and was tipped into the coal shed […]