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Seamus Heaney
Michael and Rebecca…read more

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· Born April 13, 1939
· Lived on family farm in County Derry
·Attended St. Joseph's College
· Married Marie Devlin and had three children, Michael,
Christopher, and Kathryn Ann
· Published Eleven Poems in 1965 with the Belfast Festival
· Became renown after publishing Death of A Naturalist
·Honored with the Poetry Book Society Choice of the year
award for Door into the Dark
· Joined Field Day, a theatre company founded by Brian
Friel and Stephen Real
·Adapted a version of Sophocles' Philoctetes
·In 1984, he was named Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and
Oratory, one of Harvard's most prestigious offices
·Won Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1995…read more

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Heaney's Work as a Whole
· His parent's diverse background included the traditional
Gaelic farm life and the up and coming Industrial
Revolution, which led to an inner quarrel.
· This inner quarrel became a conflict between his childhood
innocence versus his place as an adult in society.
· His passion towards his native country of Ireland serves as a
reference point for many of his poems.
· Heaney explores what it is to be a human being during
times of joy and times of struggle.
· Heaney uses literary allusion throughout his poems, often
alluding to Greek gods and figures
· Many of Heaney's poems serve as his way to discover his
place as a writer in a world where physical action is the
traditionally accepted symbol of strength.…read more

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for Michael Longley
Personal Helicon
As a child, they could not keep me from wells
And old pumps with buckets and windlasses.
I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells I rhyme to see myself,
Of waterweed, fungus and dank moss.
One, in a brickyard, with a rotted board top.
I savored the rich crash when a bucket
Plummeted down at the end of a rope.
So deep you saw no reflection in it.
A shallow one under a dry stone ditch
Fructified like any aquarium.
When you dragged out long roots from the soft mulch
A white face hovered over the bottom.
Others had echoes, gave back your own call To set the darkness echoing.
With a clean new music in it. And one
Was scaresome, for there, out of ferns and tall
Foxgloves, a rat slapped across my reflection.
Now, to pry into roots, to finger slime,
To stare, big-eyed Narcissus, into some spring
Is beneath all adult dignity. I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.…read more

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Analysis of Personal Helicon
· In Greek mythology, · Heaney explores the
Mount Helicon was conflict between the
sacred to Apollo and the freedom of youth and
Muses. society's expectations of
· Heaney alludes to adults. He uses his poetry
Narcissus, a Greek figure as compensation for lost
obsessed with his childhood experiences.
reflection. This parallels · Personal Helicon is a
Heaney's captivation with means for Heaney to
his lost childhood. communicate his internal
· Heaney's optimistic emotions and illuminate
language can be the negative aspects of
juxtaposed with the life.
connotations associated
with his dark topic. His
passionate way of
describing the dank and…read more

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Twice Shy
Her scarf a la Bardot,
Our Juvenilia
In suede flats for the walk,
Had taught us both to wait,
She came with me one evening
Not to publish feeling
For air and friendly talk.
And regret it all too late -
We crossed the quiet river,
Mushroom loves already
Took the embankment walk.
Had puffed and burst in hate.
Traffic holding its breath,
So, chary and excited,
Sky a tense diaphragm:
Dusk hung like a backcloth As a thrush liked on a hawk,
That shook where a swan swam, We thrilled to the March twilight
Tremulous as a hawk With nervous childish talk:
Hanging deadly, calm. Still waters running deep
Along the embankment walk.
A vacuum of need
Collapsed each hunting heart
But tremulously we held
As hawk and prey apart,
Preserved classic decorum,
Deployed our talk with art.…read more

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