Seamus Heaney's "Peninsula" Essay
1097 WordsOct 14th, 20085 Pages
Seamus Heaney is a famous Irish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and is considered by many to be the most interesting Irish poet since William Yeats, who likewise won a Noble Prize in his day. Heaney's literature frequently communicates the rather tranquil setting of his home land, Ireland, and in particular the North of the country, where he was born. (BBC News Magazine "Faces of the week", 19 January 2007)
His unique portrayal of Ireland’s countryside lead to his Noble Prize and the Swedish Academy mounting praise on him “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth” (New York Times, October 6 1995, by William Grimes). His love for the Irish landscape is clearly evident to the reader in many of his poems.…show more content…
It suggests to the reader that all the information that has been taken in, all this scenery at the peninsula, is just an image in the mind and only in an inspired and skilled wordsmith can the written word on page come close to realising the true beauty of these spectacular sights.
Heaney describes this peninsula as a “land without marks”, which really represents Ireland as a whole, with its proud ancestry and peaceful countryside, with endless silent fields. This reinforces Heaney’s idea of “uncoding” the scene. This “land without marks” is a silent landscape, which sits dormant, waits to be seen and heard and one must have the skill to read what one sees and hears and form that into words on paper.
Also the fact that in this “land with no marks” one can only merely “pass through” and “not arrive” conveys the land’s starvation of its ancestors imprints and creations, so much so that it is difficult to recognise one part from another. One could conclude that it is not just the narrator that is struggling to express himself, but that the landscape itself is also inarticulate.
“The sky is tall as over a runway,”
Heaney’s description of the sky here is appropriate. He uses a simile, comparing the sky on the peninsula to that over a runway. The sky, like that over a runway, is vast as there is nothing really in the way,
Essay on Analysis of Seamus Heaney's North
3769 Words16 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”. This volume first appeared in 1975, a year after the…show more content…
Reading these last two stanzas of the poem, it is not difficult to understand why it caused outrage upon its publication. To even the most liberal of readers it surely must seem that the poet is in league with those who tar and feather women merely for having friends from ‘the wrong side’. One can accept that a casual onlooker may not risk life and limb to intervene to aid a stranger; what one finds much more difficult to accept is that Heaney, on seeing young women tarred and weeping, understands the “… tribal, intimate revenge”. This is poetry as catharsis. Although adultery and dating British soldiers are obviously two different things, they are both activities which occur outside the tribe. The sense of tribalism is present throughout and is presented as an inescapable and timeless pattern. Throughout the poem Heaney has apologetically distanced himself from violence, always “…the artful voyeur”. This poem tells us much in relation to Heaney’s stance on the violence in Northern Ireland. He certainly identifies with it, as we see in the poet’s inclusion of himself in the first line where “I can feel…” and indeed how could he not for he was surrounded by it. His attitude, as already stated, seems to be that it is merely part of an inevitable cycle