Seamus Heaney - Seamus Heaney – Human Chain – 2010 - Poetry Analysis

Foreword (Human Chain)

Seamus Heaney – Human Chain – 2010 Human Chain is Seamus Heaney’s thirteenth collection since Death of a Naturalist in 1966. His work over nearly half a century has lost none of its accessibility, erudition and vitality. The textual commentaries that follow seek to tease out what his poems are intimating in Human Chain. Of course, the poet’s ‘message’ will have started life as an essentially personal one, not intended primarily for his reader; accordingly, there are moments when some serious unravelling is required. In the case of a poet as accomplished, complex and focused as Heaney, the rewards for persevering are at once enriching, fortifying and hugely pleasurable.  There are issues, too, beyond ‘the text, the whole text and nothing but the text’: there is the question of ‘style’, that is, the combination of language and poetic devices deliberately selected by the poet to carry his narrative forward; then there is the matter […read more….]

Eelworks

Eelworks In his interviews with Denis O’Driscoll that make up ‘Stepping Stones’ Heaney reveals his fascination, as he grew up, with Lough Neagh (into which his local Moyola river flowed) and also his experiences of the eel trade (pp93-4). The title of this 6-poem sequence turns out to be the familiar name used to describe the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative (revealed in vi) with which his future wife’s grandfather and father were connected. i ‘Getting ones feet under the table’: being invited into a girl-friend’s family home is seen as a significant stepping-stone in relationships.  In fairy-tales, as in Arthurian legend and Courtly Love, the male aspirants were challenged to show they were worthy of a damsel’s love Heaney’s task is reminiscent: To win the hand of the princess/ What tasks the youngest son had to perform! He suggests that an invitation into the bosom of a family was a privilege For me, the first […read more….]

Seamus Heaney Human Chain 2010

Seamus Heaney – Human Chain – 2010 Human Chain is Seamus Heaney’s thirteenth collection since Death of a Naturalist in 1966. His work over nearly half a century has lost none of its accessibility, erudition and vitality. The textual commentaries that follow seek to tease out what his poems are intimating in Human Chain. Of course, the poet’s ‘message’ will have started life as an essentially personal one, not intended primarily for his reader; accordingly, there are moments when some serious unravelling is required. In the case of a poet as accomplished, complex and focused as Heaney, the rewards for persevering are at once enriching, fortifying and hugely pleasurable.  There are issues, too, beyond ‘the text, the whole text and nothing but the text’: there is the question of ‘style’, that is, the combination of language and poetic devices deliberately selected by the poet to carry his narrative forward; then there is the matter […read more….]