Heaney, Seamus. (b. 1939).
W o r k
- established himself as a political poet x but: felt constrained by this role and left his native Northern Ireland for the Irish Republic, accepting Irish citizenship
- strongly rooted regionalism: preoccupied with rural Ulster, writes in English x but: does not share the perspectives of an Englishman
< influenced by P. V. Glob’s archaeological work The Bog People about the discovery of preserved human bodies found in the bogs of Jutland
- the bog people were ritual sacrifices to the Mother Goddess <=> Heaney sees this rite as an archetypal pattern of the Irish political and religious martyrdom to Mother Ireland
- sees the Irish bog as ‘a memory bank’ preserving everything imposed on it
- received the Nobel Prize for literature (1995)
- the first poem of his first collection
- defines his territory by digging into his memory to uncover his father, then his grandfather, and announces that he will follow their example
- aims to give a voice to the silent and oppressed
Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door into the Dark (1969):
- recalls a familiar childhood landscape and its inhabitants
Wintering Out (1972), North (1975), and Field Work (1979):
- concerned with the problems of Northern Ireland
- Irish history still continues to determine the country's present perceptions
> “North” (1975):
- a sharp look back to Norse enterprise and its ruthlessness
- a reflection on how a poet can use an ‘alien’ language on his native soil: coming to terms with the Teutonic roots of the imperial English
> “Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication” (1975):
- the title: the name the Heaney farm
- memorial lyrics prefacing North
- extends the perspective from his father’s farm to larger Ulster
- relates the history of that province to the history of Ireland as a whole
The Haw Lantern (1987) and The Spirit Level (1996):
- continues exploring the landscape, language, and memory of Ireland
x but: finds a new harmony and chastity of expression against the sharpness of North and the sensuousness of his earlier poetry
Opened Ground: Poems 1966 – 1996 (1998)
(Photo: Famous Poets & Poems com).
AuthorSeamus Justin Heaney. (b. 1939). Born British in Northern Ireland. Accepted Irish citizenship.
WorkPoet. Translator. Nobel Prize winner (1995).
GenresModern poetry. Political poetry. Regionalism.
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"But I've no spade to follow men like them. / Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I'll dig with it."