Heaney is not typically a political poet, with nonpartisan themes prominent in his poetry. However, he breaks this image in Act of Union, along with Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, branching into more political themes. The cause of this was largely due to the Troubles in Ireland from the early 1960s, which largely affected Heaney due to his role as a Northern Irish poet. He was also pressured by many journalists on his view, which is described in Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. Although Act of Union is unmistakably one of Heaney’s most political poems, it subtly delivers the message of Heaney’s outlook on the Troubles through the dramatic monologue of England, introducing an ambiguous persona.
Through the personification of England as masculine, dominant and overbearing, Heaney demonstrates his negative opinion of England the political unrest in Ireland, particularly Northern Ireland. However, he (as England) defends himself, suggesting she (Ireland) did not stand up for herself and ‘had it coming’. On the other hand, through the personification and visual imagery of Ireland as feminine, Heaney is adhering to gender stereotypes and portraying Ireland as the passive victim. The personification of both countries acts as an extended metaphor of a familial or sexual relationship, delicately delivering Heaney’s opinion of the Troubles.
Act of Union begins with a tranquil, tender tone, with ‘To-night’ creating romantic connotations. ‘A first movement, a pulse’ suggests a child in the womb stirring, with ‘pulse’ indicating the heartbeat, yet also highlighting the sexual nuances. The caesuras slow the pace of the first line, highlighting its apparently romantic quality, however could also indicate suspense, foreshadowing the ‘Troubl...
... middle of paper ...
...uture, as destruction is highlighted with ‘blasted street and home’. The quadripartite structure of Whatever You Say, Say Nothing expresses the various aspects of the Troubles, from the ignorance of the British media, to the abusive reality of the Troubles, to the militant future in store.
Although Seamus Heaney is not a political poet, partisan themes specifically concerning the Troubles emerge occasionally, especially in Part Two of North. However, Heaney remains subtle (with the exception of Whatever You Say, Say Nothing), maintaining his reputation as a lowly political poet.
Andrews, Elmer : Icon Critical Guides : The Poetry of Seamus Heaney, 2000
Lloyd, David : The Two Voices of Seamus Heaney’s North, 1979
O’Driscoll, Dennis : Stepping Stones : Interviews with Seamus Heaney, 2008
Parker, Michael : The Making of the Poet : Seamus Heaney, 1993
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- ... The poem focuses on the political turmoil, between England and Ireland as it depicts an invasion of Irish soil. “Docker” speaks to the more realistic side of hard work and life, using personification and diction to paint a picture of a weary, working man in a pub. Heaney’s poems are unvarnished odes to his homeland’s glory and human life. I wrote the poem “The Potter” using narrative format, and personification, -two elements often found in Heaney’s works- in an attempt to imitate his style of writing.... [tags: contemporary author, personification, human]
561 words (1.6 pages)
- The Importance of Exile in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney To be a poet in a culture obsessed with politics is a risky business. Investing poetry with the heavy burden of public meaning only frustrates its flight: however tempting it is to employ one's poetic talent in the service of a program or an ideology, the result usually has little to do with poetry. This is not to condemn the so-called "literature of engagement"; eye-opening and revealing, it has served its purpose in the unfinished story of our century, and now is certainly no time to call for the poet's retreat into the "ivory tower" of the self.... [tags: Biography Biographies Essays Heaney]
2858 words (8.2 pages)
- The Irish poet, Seamus Heaney broadcasts his constant awe towards his family member’s abilities in a plethora of his poems. In the poem “Follower,” Heaney brags about his father being a digger and yearns to follow the family tradition, which in his poem “Digging” he gains closure by claiming that he can “dig” in his own sense by writing. In “Clearances #5,” the poet is in awe with his mother’s ability to make sheets out of mere flour sacks. Heaney’s work stresses the importance of family life through his continual uses of repetition and caesura.... [tags: Digging, Follower, Clearances Sonnet #5]
1197 words (3.4 pages)
- Most critics focus mainly on Adrienne Rich’s feminism; however, she describes herself differently. In an interview with Michael Klein her first concern is with politics: I came out first as a political poet, even before The Dream of a Common Language, under the taboo against so-called political poetry in the US, which was comparable to the taboo against homosexuality. In other words, it wasn't done. And this is, of course, the only country in the world where that has been true. Go to Latin America, to the Middle East, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, and you find the political poet and a poetry that addresses public affairs and public discourse, conflict, oppression, and resistance.... [tags: feminist, lesbian, traditional]
901 words (2.6 pages)
- When is an act classed as political. Does the act have to be performed by politicians or can an act be deemed political when it is between ordinary people down the local pub. Are political acts purely in the hands of politicians. This article aims to discuss where politics occurs; looking at various influences that theories have put forward and how the information age has undermined the title statement. Jef Huysmans, in ‘What is Politics,’ (2005: 43) states that the most likely place for politics to happen are with political individuals in political institutions, stating that “the obvious answer is in national and regional parliaments.” Politics most certainly happens in these places and the... [tags: Political Science]
1437 words (4.1 pages)
- An Introduction to a Poet: Billy Collins Billy Collins is one of the most credited poets of this century and last. He is a man of many talents, most recognized though by his provocative and riveting poetry. As John McEnroe was to the sport of tennis, Billy Collins has done the same for the world of poetry. Collin’s rejected the old ways of poetry, created his own form, broke all the rules, and still retains the love and respect of the poet community. Collins has received the title of Poet Laureate of the United States twice and also has received countless awards and acknowledgements.... [tags: Poet Poetry Billy Collins]
1564 words (4.5 pages)
- Death of Naturalist by Seamus Heaney The poem "Death of Naturalist" was written by a well known Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The title "Death of a Naturalist" gives us a sense of loss. The opening line "All year the flax-dam festered in the heart" gives us specific detail like in Blackberry picking. The alliteration in the first line such as flax-dom and festered links in with the second stanza. Flax-dom is an onomatopoeia and festered has association of sickness and decay. It contrasts with the happy description in the first stanza when he recalls collecting the frogspawn.... [tags: Death of Naturalist Seamus Heaney Essays]
664 words (1.9 pages)
- Seamus Heaney's Background and Poetry Seamus Heaney had a Roman Catholic upbringing in a rural area of Northern Ireland. How does his poetry reflect his background. Heaney's poetry is able to reflect his background by his use of language and the technique he expresses his experiences. I will cover his background into three sections: his childhood, the community and his reflections. I will start by looking at his feelings and experiences in the poem 'Death of a Naturalist'. The poet remembers the time when he was a young child.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Poets Poems Essays]
3054 words (8.7 pages)
- Analysis of Seamus Heaney's North The poet Keats wrote that “the only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s own mind about nothing – to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thought, not a select body”. That this may be an admirable aim for a poet, and especially so for one writing against a background of ethnic violence, is not in doubt. It is, however, extremely difficult to remain neutral when one identifies oneself with an ethnic party involved in conflict. It is my intention, then, in this essay, to document how Seamus Heaney’s reaction to violence in his homeland has affected his writings, with particular reference to the volume of poetry entitled “North”.... [tags: Poetry Seamus Heaney Sexuality Poems Essays]
3770 words (10.8 pages)
- Analysis of Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney Once the reader can passes up the surface meaning of the poem Blackberry-Picking, by Seamus Heaney, past the emotional switch from sheer joy to utter disappointment, past the childhood memories, the underlying meaning can be quite disturbing. Hidden deep within the happy-go-lucky rifts of childhood is a disturbing tale of greed and murder. Seamus Heaney, through clever diction, ghastly imagery, misguided metaphors and abruptly changing forms, ingeniously tells the tale that is understood and rarely spoken aloud.... [tags: Blackberry Picking Seamus Heaney Essays]
975 words (2.8 pages)