This article examines Seamus Heaney’s use of Latin in his poetry, and its connections with larger thematics of world literature. It argues that the work of his last two decades can no longer be characterized by a postcolonial framework, but rather sidesteps issues of empire to explore the ways in which the local circulates in globalized culture.
In an interview, poet Seamus Heaney discusses his work. Among the topics addressed are how teaching has affected his writing, his childhood in Ireland, whether poetry can affect politics, the critics he finds perceptive, and the poets that have influenced him.
"Like Wordsworth, Seamus Heaney possesses an urbanatural tendency which reveals that, even in as richly natural an environment as Ireland--from Dublin and Wicklow in the east, all the way to Galway and the Dingle Peninsula in Western Ireland--poetry has the ability to link human and wild, cultural and natural, city space with wilderness space--in ways that teach poets and readers something new about the human connection between both worlds. In his urbanatural poems, Heaney's sensitivity provides access to a world of union, not division, a world where cities are linked to natural landscapes in ways that have been celebrated by poets from Wordsworth to Mary Oliver."
The study is based on the argument that a sound knowledge of a writer’s personal psychological development is just as enlightening as historical and political contexts. This psychoanalytical approach applies the theory of Object Relations to determine early attachments and identification processes, and leads to fresh readings of Heaney’spoems. References cover a span of forty years from Death of a Naturalist (1966) to District and Circle (2006). Heaney’s poetry presents self, parents, ancestors, and community as interdependent elements and his sense of self is ultimately revealed through identification with his first experiences of community. The poet’s search for harmony and unity also acknowledges the tension, paradoxes, and problems associated with self-discovery. Recognizing and accepting the darkness of past lives as formative, the poet constantly strives for self-knowledge, harmony, and catharsis.
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