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Seamus Heaney Michael and Rebecca. Biography Born April 13, 1939 Lived on family farm in County Derry Attended St. Joseph’s College Married Marie Devlin.

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Presentation on theme: "Seamus Heaney Michael and Rebecca. Biography Born April 13, 1939 Lived on family farm in County Derry Attended St. Joseph’s College Married Marie Devlin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Seamus Heaney Michael and Rebecca

2 Biography Born April 13, 1939 Lived on family farm in County Derry Attended St. Joseph’s College Married Marie Devlin and had three children, Michael, Christopher, and Kathryn Ann Published Eleven Poems in 1965 with the Belfast Festival Became renown after publishing Death of A Naturalist Honored with the Poetry Book Society Choice of the year award for Door into the Dark Joined Field Day, a theatre company founded by Brian Friel and Stephen Real Adapted a version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes In 1984, he was named Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, one of Harvard’s most prestigious offices Won Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1995

3 Heaney’s Work as a Whole His parent’s diverse background included the traditional Gaelic farm life and the up and coming Industrial Revolution, which led to an inner quarrel. This inner quarrel became a conflict between his childhood innocence versus his place as an adult in society. His passion towards his native country of Ireland serves as a reference point for many of his poems. Heaney explores what it is to be a human being during times of joy and times of struggle. Heaney uses literary allusion throughout his poems, often alluding to Greek gods and figures Many of Heaney’s poems serve as his way to discover his place as a writer in a world where physical action is the traditionally accepted symbol of strength.

4 Personal Helicon for Michael Longley As a child, they could not keep me from wells And old pumps with buckets and windlasses. I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss. One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top. I savored the rich crash when a bucket Plummeted down at the end of a rope. So deep you saw no reflection in it. A shallow one under a dry stone ditch Fructified like any aquarium. When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch A white face hovered over the bottom. Others had echoes, gave back your own call With a clean new music in it. And one Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection. Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime, To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme To see myself, to set the darkness echoing. I rhyme to see myself, To set the darkness echoing.

5 Analysis of Personal Helicon Heaney explores the conflict between the freedom of youth and society’s expectations of adults. He uses his poetry as compensation for lost childhood experiences. Personal Helicon is a means for Heaney to communicate his internal emotions and illuminate the negative aspects of life. In Greek mythology, Mount Helicon was sacred to Apollo and the Muses. Heaney alludes to Narcissus, a Greek figure obsessed with his reflection. This parallels Heaney’s captivation with his lost childhood. Heaney’s optimistic language can be juxtaposed with the connotations associated with his dark topic. His passionate way of describing the dank and dark is ironic.

6 Twice Shy Her scarf a la Bardot, In suede flats for the walk, She came with me one evening For air and friendly talk. We crossed the quiet river, Took the embankment walk. Traffic holding its breath, Sky a tense diaphragm: Dusk hung like a backcloth That shook where a swan swam, Tremulous as a hawk Hanging deadly, calm. A vacuum of need Collapsed each hunting heart But tremulously we held As hawk and prey apart, Preserved classic decorum, Deployed our talk with art. Our Juvenilia Had taught us both to wait, Not to publish feeling And regret it all too late - Mushroom loves already Had puffed and burst in hate. So, chary and excited, As a thrush liked on a hawk, We thrilled to the March twilight With nervous childish talk: Still waters running deep Along the embankment walk.

7 Analysis of Twice Shy This poem approaches the essence of love in a shy and tentative way. Heaney uses imagery to express the picturesque image of love. The entire second stanza is characterized by personification of the lovers’ surroundings. Heaney uses diction that would normally express the innocence of love to convey a darker message. Underscoring the poem, is the idea that love is ephemeral. He draws a parallel between new romances and childlike relationships. Discusses the purity of the unspoken in terms of love.

8 Harvest Bow As you plaited the harvest bow You implicated the mellowed silence in you In wheat that does not rust But brightens as it tightens twist by twist Into a knowable corona, A throwaway love-knot of straw. Hands that aged round ashplants and cane sticks And lapped the spurs on a lifetime of game cocks Harked to their gift and worked with fine intent Until your fingers moved somnambulant: I tell and finger it like braille, Gleaning the unsaid off the palpable, And if I spy into its golden loops I see us walk between the railway slopes Into an evening of long grass and midges, Blue smoke straight up, old beds and ploughs in hedges, An auction notice on an outhouse wall-- You with a harvest bow in your lapel, Me with the fishing rod, already homesick For the big lift of these evenings, as your stick Whacking the tips off weeds and bushes Beats out of time, and beats, but flushes Nothing: that original townland Still tongue-tied in the straw tied by your hand. The end of art is peace Could be the motto of this frail device That I have pinned up on our deal dresser-- Like a drawn snare Slipped lately by the spirit of the corn Yet burnished by its passage, and still warm.

9 Analysis of Harvest Bow In this poem, Heaney develops the idea that the relationship between a child and their parents is the most crucial development of childhood. Heaney elaborates on the idea that artistic tendencies exist between families which is a stronger bond then words that can be formed on paper. His dad’s many talents reveal the similarity between Heaney’s talent and passion as a writer. Heaney uses a description of the wheat as a metaphor to describe the unbreakable bond between their relationship. This poem once again elaborates on the theme of a lost childhood. The memories of times with his father are sweeter than his current position in a cruel world. Rather than viewing this loss as a negative thing, Heaney makes it clear that the bond between father and son can not be dissipated by mere time or knowledge of the real world.

10 Digging Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun. Under my window a clean rasping sound When the spade sinks into gravelly ground: My father, digging. I look down Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds Bends low, comes up twenty years away Stooping in rhythm through potato drills Where he was digging. The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft Against the inside knee was levered firmly. He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep To scatter new potatoes that we picked Loving their cool hardness in our hands. By God, the old man could handle a spade, Just like his old man. My grandfather could cut more turf in a day Than any other man on Toner's bog. Once I carried him milk in a bottle Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up To drink it, then fell to right away Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods Over his shoulder, digging down and down For the good turf. Digging. The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge Through living roots awaken in my head. 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.

11 Analysis of Digging The poem explores the respect Heaney holds for his heritage. Heaney explore the parallelism between his father and grandfather’s strength as working men and his place as a writer. The poem serves as an extended metaphor for revealing the roots of Heaney’s past through the power of his writing. Heaney appeals to his audience through the use of onomatopoeia to make his descriptions more vivid. Heaney uses repetition in the first and last stanza to show his realization that his writing can serve as a way to discover the roots of his past.

12 Bibliography ELEVEN POEMS, 1965 –A pamphlet that coincided with the Belfast Festival. DEATH OF A NATURALIST, 1966 –A poem discussing childhood experiences through revelations in nature. WINTERING OUT, 1972 –A collection of poems that explores the “radical connection between the land and the language it nurtures.“ BOG POEMS, 1975 –A series of poems that studies the political and social situation in his native Northern Ireland. GOVERNMENT OF THE TONGUE: SELECTED PROSE, –An anthology discussing societal divisions among religion and politics and his struggle between creative freedom and social obligations FIELD WORK, 1979 –A poem exploiting a political situation in Northern Ireland from Heaney’s Catholic standpoint. CLEARANCES, 1986 –A series of sonnets that presents stark images of the spaces death leaves between us, through the use of euphemisms. THE CURE AT TROY, 1991 –A version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes THE BURIAL AT THEBES, 2004 –A version of Sophocles’ Antigone THE POETRY OF SEAMUS HEANEY by ELEMER ANDREWS –Collection of critical responses to Seamus Heaney’s poetry, presenting the debates surrounding the poets work and popular appeal. Complete List of Works

13 Works Cited Audio Interviews - Seamus Heaney Books and Writers Harvard University Press/Seamus Heaney Interview with Seamus Heaney Literary Allusion and the Poetry of Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney-Cover Page Themes in Seamus Heaney's Poetry The Seamus Heaney Page The Seamus Heaney Portal

14 “The form of the poem, in other words, is crucial to poetry's power to do the thing which always is and always will be to poetry's credit: the power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it, the power to remind us that we are hunters and gatherers of values, that our very solitudes and distresses are creditable, in so far as they, too, are an earnest of our veritable human being.” -Heaney ENJOY YOUR COOKIES!!!!


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