Other literary forms (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978 (1980) is a collection of memoirs, lectures, reviews, and essays in which Seamus Heaney (HEE-nee) accounts for his development as a poet. The Government of the Tongue: The T. S. Eliot Memorial Lectures, and Other Critical Writings (1988) similarly gathers reviews and lectures that elaborate on his views on the relationship between society and poetry.
(The entire section is 57 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Achievements (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
Seamus Heaney’s work has been recognized with some of the most prestigious honors in literary circles. Perhaps his most impressive award came in 1995, when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. For Death of a Naturalist, he won the Eric Gregory Award in 1966, the Cholomondeley Award in 1967, and both the Somerset Maugham Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1968. He also won the Poetry Book Society Choice citation for Door into the Dark in 1969, the Irish Academy of Letters award in 1971, the Writer in Residence Award from the American Irish Foundation and the Denis Devlin Award (both for Wintering Out) in 1973, the E. M. Forster Award, election to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1975, and the W. H. Smith Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, and a Poetry Book Society Choice citation, all in 1976 for North.
In 1982, Heaney was awarded honorary degrees by Fordham University and Queen’s University of Belfast; the two universities noted particularly that his reflection of the troubles of Northern Ireland in his poetry had universal application. He then received a Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination in 1984, as well as the PEN Translation Prize for Poetry in 1985, both for Sweeney Astray. He won the Whitbread Award in 1987 for The Haw Lantern, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry in 1990, a Premio Internazionale Mondello in 1993, the Whitbread Award in 1996 for...
(The entire section is 300 words.)
Discussion Topics (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
What role do Seamus Heaney’s rural upbringing and the landscape of his childhood play in his poetry?
How do bogs function in Heaney’s poetry as representations of the life and culture of the Irish people?
In “Digging,” what connections does Heaney make between the craft of writing and the labor of cutting turf?
How does communication between the living and the dead function as a motif in “Station Island”?
Describe the relationship between poet and mother in “Clearances” and poet and father in “The Sharping Stone.”
How does Heaney’s poetry address the historical conflicts between unionist Protestants and nationalist Catholics in Northern Ireland?
(The entire section is 106 words.)
Bibliography (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
Brandes, Rand, and Michael J. Durkan, eds. Seamus Heaney: A Bibliography, 1959-2003. London: Faber and Faber, 2008. Bibliography of the poet’s works provides a good starting point for research.
Cavanagh, Michael. Professing Poetry: Seamus Heaney’s Poetics. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2009. Provides extensive analysis of the critical essays written by Heaney to discern his theory of poetics.
Collins, Floyd. Seamus Heaney: The Crisis of Identity. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003. A fine introduction to the poet’s expertise and style.
Crowder, A. B., and Jason David Hall, eds. Seamus Heaney: Poet, Critic, Translator. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. These twelve essays address not only Heaney’s poetry but also Heaney’s criticism and translations.
Hall, Jason David. Seamus Heaney’s Rhythmic Contract. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. An examination of Heaney’s poetry that focuses on its structure and place it in the context of mid-twentieth century theories of meter and rhythm.
McCarthy, Conor. Seamus Heaney and Medieval Poetry. Rochester, N.Y.: Boydell & Brewer, 2008. Examines how Heaney translated medieval poetry and otherwise incorporated it into his poetry.
(The entire section is 334 words.)