Seamus Heaney (b. 1939) was the eldest child of nine born to a farming family in County Derry, Northern Ireland. He won a scholarship to St Columb's College, Derry, beginning an academic career that would lead, through Queen's University Belfast, where his first books of poems were written, to positions including Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard and the Oxford Professor of Poetry. As a poet, Heaney has become both critically feted and publicly popular. Among his many awards are the Nobel Prize for Literature 1995 and the Whitbread prize (twice); he was made a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996.
Heaney's poetry is grounded in actual, local detail, often in memories of Derry or observation of his adopted home in the Republic of Ireland. 'Death of a Naturalist', the title poem of his first collection, finds a moment of horror at nature that is all the more telling for the precise details, such as the "frogspawn that grew like clotted water". Recent Irish history is one of the strongest influences on these details, appearing in its most outspoken form in the poems from North, but often obliquely present elsewhere.
In 'Fosterling', Heaney writes of "waiting until I was nearly fifty / to credit marvels"; his later poetry is certainly open to the marvellous, such as the mysterious ship that appears to the monks in the extract from 'Squarings'. His ability to unite this with the local is praised in his Nobel nomination for poems "which exalt everyday miracles". 'The Skylight', a poem about the fitting of an unwanted window into the roof of his study, leads to an almost Damascene response to the wonder of this light streaming into his room; more threateningly, a trip on 'The Underground' becomes permeated with myths from Ovid, Hansel and Gretel and Eurydice.
In his intimate reading style, Heaney balances a sense of natural speech with his commitment to what he has described as "a musically satisfying order of sounds". This grants full weight to the formal skill that shapes the poems, yet gives the impression that we are being confided in by the man whose poetry, according to the Swedish Academy, is distinguished by "lyrical beauty and ethical depth".
His recording was made on 4 October 2005 at The Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.
The Bog Queen, unlike the the people who are the subjects of the other bog poems, was found in Ireland, specifically Northern Ireland, in 1781 on the estate of Lord Moira in County Down. A strong linkage between these people (the ones found in Denmark were sacrificial victims, according to P.V. Glob, who wrote 'The Bog People) and the victims of violence in Northern Ireland is commonly claimed. The claim is fanciful, forced, factitious. Heather O' Donoghue endorses the claim in 'Heaney, Beowulf and the Medieval Literature of the North' ('The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney'). It's no more plausible than her claim of 'similarities between saga society and the domestic violence of the Ulster troubles.' The claim is obviously of strong or fairly strong similarities. Weak linkages are all that can be claimed.
Seamus Heaney has written about historical events in several of his poems. Some, like At A Potato Digging and Requiem for the Croppies had an overtly historical theme, describing a specific event in Irish history. Others like Funeral Rites, The Tollund Man, and Viking Dublin: Trial Pieces include some references to Ireland’s past.
There are only three poems of 'nounness' in this section 'Settings,' xiii, xix and xxiv. Her schematic thesis of adjectival, verbal and noun phases in the poetic career of Seamus Heaney is untenable. She writes, 'If the most recent Heaney is a poet of the noun, if the sensual Heaney is a poet of the verb, the earliest Heaney seemed, to me, a poet of the adjecitive.'
Seamus heaney punishment essay, College paper Academic Servi
Born in 1939 and still alive today, Seamus is an Irish poet brought up in County Derry who has had much success. He married in 1965 and in 1995 he won the prize for literature. One of Heaney’s collections is, Death of a Naturalist (1996) from which “Digging” is taken. Robert Frost was born in...
Punishment: Seamus Heaney - Summary and Critical Analysis
Seamus Heaney's poem "At a Potato Digging," features two contrasting depictions of a potato harvest. In the first section of the poem, the speaker describes a modern potato harvest with "a...
There are multiple themes present in Seamus Heaney's Poem "Digging."First, the theme of skill appears in the poem. The speaker brings up the skill of both his father and grandfather (in regards...
Paul Hurt on the poetry of Seamus Heaney: flawed success
I mostly remember the poems from his latest collection at the time, Field Work. Descriptions of armored tanks and patrols and bullets and the deaths of young people were silted between images of green fields and grey rocks and eating oysters beside the sea. Heaney talked to us about the Troubles, the political and sectarian strife in Northern Ireland. Lives lost. Scores settled and rekindled. At one point, something he said sounded to me like an advocacy of violence in an uncomfortable way, but I said nothing because it was his house, his country, his world that was being shaken every day. I was a visitor in all ways.