In "Heaney wants to think of poetry not only as something that intervenes in the world, redressing or correcting imbalances, but also as something that must be redressed—re-established, celebrated as itself." The book contains a selection of lectures the poet delivered at Oxford University as Professor of Poetry. Malcolm Jones in stated: "Heaney's own poetic vernacular—muscular language so rich with the tones and smell of earth that you almost expect to find a few crumbs of dirt clinging to his lines—is the perfect match for the Beowulf poet's Anglo-Saxon…As retooled by Heaney, should easily be good for another millennium." Though he has also translated Sophocles, Heaney remains most adept with medieval works.
Heaney's proposed that Heaney's "is not just another book of literary criticism…It is a record of Seamus Heaney's thirty-year struggle with the demon of doubt. He translated Robert Henryson’s Middle Scots classic and follow-up to Chaucer, in 2009. A true event in the poetry world, Ireland marked the occasion with a 12-hour broadcast of archived Heaney recordings.
He was the author of over 20 volumes of poetry and criticism, and edited several widely used anthologies.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past." Heaney taught at Harvard University (1985-2006) and served as the Oxford Professor of Poetry (1989-1994). Heaney has attracted a readership on several continents and has won prestigious literary awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize.
Seamus Heaney is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century.
A native of Northern Ireland, Heaney was raised in County Derry, and later lived for many years in Dublin.Heaney was recognised as one of the principal contributors to poetry during his lifetime.American poet Robert Lowell described him as "the most important Irish poet since Yeats", and many others, including the academic John Sutherland, have said that he was "the greatest poet of our age".The poet sought to weave the ongoing Irish troubles into a broader historical frame embracing the general human situation in the books While some reviewers criticized Heaney for being an apologist and mythologizer, Morrison suggested that Heaney would never reduce political situations to false simple clarity, and never thought his role should be as a political spokesman.The author "has written poems directly about the Troubles as well as elegies for friends and acquaintances who have died in them; he has tried to discover a historical framework in which to interpret the current unrest; and he has taken on the mantle of public spokesman, someone looked to for comment and guidance," noted Morrison.Heaney and Sweeney." This bond is extended into Heaney's 1984 volume where a series of poems titled "Sweeney Redivivus" take up Sweeney's voice once more.The poems reflect one of the book’s larger themes, the connections between personal choices, dramas and losses and larger, more universal forces such as history and language. Di Piero described Heaney's focus: "Whatever the occasion—childhood, farm life, politics and culture in Northern Ireland, other poets past and present—Heaney strikes time and again at the taproot of language, examining its genetic structures, trying to discover how it has served, in all its changes, as a culture bearer, a world to contain imaginations, at once a rhetorical weapon and nutriment of spirit."Yet he has also shown signs of deeply resenting this role, defending the right of poets to be private and apolitical, and questioning the extent to which poetry, however 'committed,' can influence the course of history." In the Shaun O' Connell contended that even Heaney's most overtly political poems contain depths that subtly alter their meanings."Those who see Seamus Heaney as a symbol of hope in a troubled land are not, of course, wrong to do so," O' Connell stated, "though they may be missing much of the undercutting complexities of his poetry, the backwash of ironies which make him as bleak as he is bright." As poet and critic Stephen Burt wrote, Heaney was “resistant to dogma yet drawn to the numinous.” Helen Vendler described him as “a poet of the in-between.” Heaney’s first foray into the world of translation began with the Irish lyric poem The work concerns an ancient king who, cursed by the church, is transformed into a mad bird-man and forced to wander in the harsh and inhospitable countryside.The impact of his surroundings and the details of his upbringing on his work are immense.As a Catholic in Protestant Northern Ireland, Heaney once described himself in the as someone who "emerged from a hidden, a buried life and entered the realm of education." Eventually studying English at Queen’s University, Heaney was especially moved by artists who created poetry out of their local and native backgrounds—authors such as Ted Hughes, Patrick Kavanagh, and Robert Frost.