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The poetry of Seamus Heaney is deceptively simple. Examine this comment in the light of his choices of subject, diction, and structure. You should refer to at least two poems in your responses.

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The poetry of Seamus Heaney is deceptively simple. Examine this comment in the light of his choices of subject, diction, and structure. You should refer to at least two poems in your responses. The deceptive simplicity of the poet can be helped to be understood through P A M Dirac, who suggests that poetry tries to tell people in a way that is understood by no one, something everybody already knew. If you can comprehend this, it is easier to see how the poetry of Heaney can be called deceptively simple, the surface which appears to be the reminiscing of his youth, is misleading, in actuality it is hinting at something far more complex and explaining lessons of life that he learnt, that the reader may never grasps. One of the common themes which appear to run through the poems studied is that of childhood experience. They each explore the authors' memories in a different way, showing how his past has made him into the person he is now. All his memories are significant beyond their surface meaning. For example the poems are all set in nature with the exception of 'Mid-Term Break' and beyond the details of his formative years as a farmer's son, are issues which are of much more importance, such as death. Certain words also allude to at other things beside that which the poem simple is, such as the metaphor "as snug as a gun". ...read more.


"By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man". This is intended to show the awe and high regard he holds towards his elders as well as hinting at a deeper meaning, the phrase shows the long tradition farming has had in the family, thus making the abandonment of this tradition all the more dreadful in Heaney's mind, as all he wanted to do was "to grow up and plough" (Follower). The voice of the poet is also important, the progression and change in viewpoints for the reader is all due to the influence of voice. In 'Blackberry Picking' the voice of the poet changes from the use of plurals such as "we" and "you" to first person singular, "I" , this links with the structure of the poem which is quite unusual as the stanza appear to have the form of paragraphs. This indicates the transformation from a child's perspective to the adult in retrospect as the poem progresses. The use of plurals for group experience remembered in later life such as the "lust for picking" is sharply contrasted with the sadness he may have felt alone when the blackberries rotted. The lesson to this poem is that good things never last so you should enjoy them while you have them (instead of leaving them to rot). ...read more.


hand 'Mid-Term Break' appears to a poem because of its regular stanza but in fact when read aloud it sounds like the recital of memories free from a poetic form it is the last two line which rhyme that brings the poignancy and the poetry to the ears. Finally it is the sensual language of the poems that captures the experience of the poet best. This use of language that appeals to the senses is important as memory is activated through vivid taste and intense smells. It is through the senses that the reader is stimulated. Descriptions of the senses in 'Digging' include "a lean rasping sound" for hearing, "cool hardness" for touch, "the cold smell of potato mould" and in 'Blackberry Picking' the sight of "a glossy purple clot". In reality it is through our senses that the past comes to life. To capture this within a poem, with writing, takes a skilled poet and a practiced technique. The language of the poem, every single word is important; it may appear simple but if you were to write a poem without any thought there would in truth be no real meaning to the poem. It is through the expertise of Seamus Heaney that the nature of his poems comes to light and we understand that which we already knew and the meaning of a deceptively simple becomes clear. ?? ?? ?? ?? Danielle Kriger English Wordsworth Upper ...read more.

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