Seamus Heaney

Robert Buttel

86 pages
ISBN 0-8387-1567-2
Contemporary Irish Writers

Seamus Heaney is another contribution to the Irish Writers Series. These monographs have been designed to treat in individual volumes the significant Anglo-Irish writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, encompass discussions of almost 40 writers.

Seamus Heaney, a leading figure in the recent surge of poetry from northern Ireland, spent his youth on a farm in County Derry before attending Queens University, Belfast, where he subsequently taught for a number of years in the English Department. In three books of verse to date he has combined the earthy vigor of his rural origin with the literary sophistication of the Irish and English poetic traditions.

Heaney's poetry is distinctly Irish in its concerns, from the present cruel conflict in Ulster back into prehistory, but it is neither insular nor merely regional. It defines its landscape and human experience with such immediacy and integrity of feeling that it transcends its regional inspiration and makes a distinguished contribution to current poetry in English.

About the author:

Robert Buttel, Professor of English at Temple University, received his undergraduate degree from Williams College and his Ph.D. from Columbia. Previously he has written on the American poet Wallace Stevens, his chief contribution being Wallace Stevens: the Making of Harmonium. The present study draws not only upon the poetry itself but also upon a number of discussions with Heaney about his work, attendance at several of the poet's readings, and visits to Ireland for the gathering of background material.


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