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Heaney Agonistes

[»»] Jeffrey Side: The Dissembling Poet: Seamus Heaney and the Avant-garde

[»»] Rob Stanton: ‘A shy soul fretting and all that ’: Heaney, Prynne and Brands of Uncertainty

[»»] The Group in Belfast, 1960s
(Seamus Heaney: The Early Years)

Letters to the Editor from: [»»] Ira Lightman; [»»] John Muckle; [»»] J.P. Craig; [»»] Jamie McKendrick; [»»] David Latané; [»»] Aidan Semmens; [»»] Ira Lightman (2); [»»] Jamie McKendrick (2); [»»] Ira Lightman (3); [»»] Desmond Swords; [»»] Todd Swift and Jeffrey Side; [»»] Jeffrey Side, reply to Desmond Swords; [»»] Jamie McKendrick (3); [»»] Ira Lightman (4); [»»] Jeffrey Side responds to Ira Lightman; [»»] Jeffrey Side responds to Jamie McKendrick; [»»] From Desmond Swords, 2009-04-07; [»»] From Jamie McKendrick, 2009-04-09; [»»] Jeffrey Side responds to Jamie McKendrick; [»»] Andrew Boobier

To send a letter to the editor, click here: [»»]. I would prefer not to change what is published here; if you have second thoughts, please send a second letter.

Jeffrey Side

The Dissembling Poet:

Seamus Heaney and the Avant-garde

Paragraph 1

In an interview with Dennis O’Driscoll (‘Beyond the Fiddle’) Seamus Heaney says about the avant-garde:


It’s an old-fashioned term by now. In literature, nobody can cause bother any more. John Ashbery was a kind of avant-garde poet certainly and now he’s become a mainstream voice. The work of the “Language Poets” and of the alternative poetries in Britain—associated with people in Cambridge University like J. H. Prynne—is not the charlatan work some perceive it to be; however, these poets form a kind of cult that shuns general engagement, regarding it as a vulgarity and a decadence. There’s a phrase I heard as a criticism of W. H. Auden and I like the sound of it: somebody said that he didn’t have the rooted normality of the major talent. I’m not sure the criticism applies to Auden, but the gist of it is generally worth considering. Even in T. S. Eliot, the big, normal world comes flowing around you. Robert Lowell went head-on at the times—there was no more literary poet around, but at the same time he was like a great cement mixer: he just shovelled the world in and it delivered. Now that’s what I yearn for—the cement mixer rather than the chopstick. [1]


Several things about this statement need to be addressed, so I will go through it step-by-step to do so. When Heaney says that the term “avant-garde” is old-fashioned, what does this really say regarding the term’s significance in relation to his own poetic ideals? Indeed, many critics have accused Heaney’s poetic, itself, as being distinctly old fashioned, a sort of neo-Georgian retrogressive “poetic” utterance. It is as if Heaney recognises the accuracy of this criticism, and in an effort to deflect its force feels the need to reflect it back at his detractors. That he is sensitive on this point is suggested by his saying (as if an afterthought) that ‘in literature, nobody can cause bother any more’. This is a curious thing for a man of letters to say in the absence of a defensive posture. What does he mean by “bother”, anyway? Is he referring to poetic innovation as being troublesome, or simply referring to personal “bother” caused by negative views of his poetry by observant critics? Whatever the case, to say that the term “avant-garde” is old-fashioned is beside the point, as Heaney, practised in casuistry and dissembling, knows all too well.

Heaney Museum, Bellaghy, photo courtesy Eastern Mennonite University

Heaney Museum, Bellaghy, photo and text courtesy Eastern Mennonite University.
From a tour group’s diary, September 18-24, 2001: “Today’s journey took us to two interesting places. Our first stop was the town of Bellaghy, an area that has been inhabited for nearly 9000 years. Here we visited Bellaghy Bawn, an old plantation house that has been restored to serve as a museum honoring one of Ireland’s most famous poets, Seamus Heaney. […] Seamus Heaney has been writing since the mid-sixties and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. Some of his poetry speaks of the Bellaghy area, where he spent his boyhood, and of family, friends, tragedy and nature. We were able to see a lovely video of Heaney talking about his youth, walking through the local countryside and reciting his poetry.”


His citing of Ashbery as a belated mainstream voice also makes little sense outside of Ashbery being published in the UK by Carcanet. Certainly, he cannot be referring to Ashbery’s poetic which has yet to receive unreserved approbation by mainstream criticism, at least in Britain. Regardless of the truth of the matter, even if Ashbery was now part of the mainstream this does not demonstrate the weakening of avant-garde concerns, which is the stated thrust of Heaney’s argument. Interestingly, if Ashbery is a mainstream voice this would imply that he and Heaney are both writing poetry. To re-position Ashbery within the boundaries of mainstream verse, all Heaney seems to be doing is to flatter his own poetic practice by association.


When he says of the alternative poetries in Britain that it ‘is not the charlatan work some perceive it to be’, who are the “some” he is referring to? No doubt, the main body of the mainstream, but I think, also, Heaney himself. His acknowledgment of Prynne, here, seems to be little more than an attempt to distance himself momentarily from the “some” he alludes to. If it were not this, then his saying that, ‘these poets form a kind of cult that shuns general engagement, regarding it as a vulgarity and a decadence’ recoups the generosity he grants Prynne. It seems not to have occurred to Heaney that any “cult” status these poets have acquired was, perhaps, the consequence of being marginalised by the mainstream. It is certainly not true that they shun “general engagement”, if he suggests by that term an aspiration for their work to be read and for it to communicate with a significant readership. In this respect, there is very little dissimilarity between mainstream and avant-garde poets.


Heaney’s appropriation of the criticism he sees as inappropriate regarding Auden (‘that he didn’t have the rooted normality of the major talent’) and conferring it upon the avant-garde, implies that major talent can only be an outpouring of an unadventurous character. If the history of art tells us anything, it is that this is categorically not the case. That Heaney uses Eliot, of all poets, to argue his point is another instance of his use of misdirection and redefinition, similar instances of which is seen littered throughout his The Redress of Poetry (based on a series of lectures he delivered as Oxford Professor of Poetry). Whilst it is certainly true that Eliot was a conservative figure in both temperament and ideology, and that his later work was not as effervescent as that of his major period, Heaney’s suggestion that Eliot’s poetry evinces the ‘normal world’ is only accurate regarding content, the treatment of phenomena in Eliot, however, is seldom “normal” and usually problematical. Of course, for Heaney, phenomena is seldom problematical, his preferring to render it palpable by using a more functional language than Eliot uses.


Indeed, it is Heaney’s discomfort with a less than functional use of language that seems to be at the root of his discomposure with avant-garde poetics. This uneasiness is seen in his critique of Dylan Thomas in The Redress of Poetry where he contends that Thomas ‘continued to place a too unenlightened trust in the plasticity of language’.[2] For Heaney, poetry is primarily concerned with language as unequivocal communication. His reservations about poetic language extend also into his opinion of poetic artifice. Of Thomas’s use of it, he thinks that ‘the demand for more matter, less art, does inevitably arise’.[3] Elizabeth Bishop, however, has his approval because ‘she never allows the formal delights of her art to mollify the hard realities of her subjects’.[4]


However, he appears to cunningly support both sides of the argument when he admits that, ‘Poetry cannot afford to lose its [… ], joy in being a process of language as well as a representation of things in the world’.[5] His empiricism is unavoidably evident in this statement. Yet, it is puzzling why he should introduce into this statement mention of the joys of linguistic processes given that elsewhere he is decidedly critical of them. Could this turnaround perhaps indicate that Heaney opportunistically realizes that his poetic modus operandi is beginning to lose currency in the more progressive circles of academic poetic discourse, and that to fully safeguard his posthumous poetic reputation he has to enable future critics of his work to capably defend his reputation against charges that he is merely a descriptive poet? Nonetheless, his continual wariness of the linguistic and formal properties of a poem is still very much evident, as is his distrust of linguistic ingenuity:


And yet, limber and absolved as linguistic inventiveness may seem in poetry, it is not disjunct from or ever entirely manumitted by the critical intelligence. If it appears to be so, that may simply mean that there is none of said intelligence available in that particular quarter.[6]


Here, he places reason above artifice and content before form. Words are to be manipulable to specific and conventional meanings. There seems little room here for the joy poetry evokes by ‘being a process of language’. Yet, his circumspection regarding the linguistic and formal properties of a poem is still very much evident. This is seen in his cautious praise of Thomas:


Thomas came through with a poem in a single, unfumbled movement, one with all the confidence of a necessary thing, one in which again at last the fantasy and extravagance of the imagery and diction did not dissipate themselves or his theme.[7]


Heaney is seen here, again, favouring poetic content over poetic language.


This concern with content before form is also evident in his reference to a line from John Clare’s, ‘Mouse’s Nest’. The line is: ‘With all her young ones hanging at her teats [… ]’; and Heaney comments: ‘“Hanging on” would have had certain pathetic, anthropomorphic associations that would have weakened the objective clarity of the whole presentation’.[8] He praises Clare for avoiding the more impressionistic phrase “hanging on” in favour of the more visually accurate ‘hanging at’ that Clare does use. He thinks it a good thing of Clare’s ‘Mouse’s Nest’ that ‘there is an unspectacular joy and totally alert love for the one-thing-after-anotherness of the world’.[9] However, he is aware that this approach to poetry needs defending. Consequently, in an attempt to do this he says, disingenuously, there is more than mere description in Clare’s poetry:


Just because Clare’s poetry abounds in actualities, just because it is full of precise delightful detail as a granary is full of grains, does not mean that it is doomed to pile up and sink down in its own materiality.[10]


He illustrates this with reference to the cesspool in the ‘Mouse’s Nest’, which embodies, for Clare,


not only the reality of all such places as places, with distinct characters and histories, but also their value as a set of memories and affections at the back of his mind. There is dreamwork going on here as well as photography.[11]


Yet, for this to be the case there would surely be no need to admit to the photographic elements of such poetry as existing in the first place. To admit such, and then deny their actual affects on the reader in favour of an assumed “dreamwork” in operation seems pointless. If a poem is not photography, then that will be apparent and will not need an apology.


Heaney excuses Clare for certain stylistic faults (‘lines repeating and intersecting with the trajectory of other lines’[12]) because accurate observation underlies them:


This is why the “ands” and “whens” and self-contained couplets and end-stopped movement of the lines do not irk as they might. They are clearly a function of the perception rather than a fault of execution. [… ] They are both a prerequisite and consequence of one kind of accuracy and immediacy.[13]


By apologizing for the descriptive nature of Clare’s poetry (and, elsewhere, poetry like it) Heaney is in effect apologizing for his own poetry. This is indicated in his following statement:


The poet who would be most the poet has to attempt an act of writing that outstrips the conditions even as it observes them. The truly creative writer, by interposing his or her perception and expression, will transfigure the conditions and effect thereby what I have been calling “The Redress of Poetry”.[14]


One cannot help but sense that he regards himself too much as ‘the poet who would be most the poet’. Here, he apologizes for descriptive poetry by claiming that (in his case at least) it is not merely descriptive. He claims that the descriptive poet’s perceptions and expressions (although he is not specific as to what he means by the latter) will transform in some sense the appearance of objects described.


Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion in the Introduction to their anthology The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry inadvertently indicate that for Heaney transforming an object’s appearance is achieved through defamiliarisation. Concerning his poem,‘The Grauballe Man’ they write:


As Heaney’s eye ranges over the anatomy it transforms skin and bone to a clutter of inanimate things: the wrist to ‘bog oak’, the heel to a ‘basalt egg’, the mortal wound to a ‘dark elderberry place’, and so on.[15]


It should be pointed out that defamiliarisation is dependent upon vision in order to revive our awareness of objects that have become over-familiar through constant exposure to them. To this extent, it is an empiricist mode of writing. Seen in this light, Heaney’s transfigurations are not as transcendental as they initially appeared to be.


What we really see in Heaney is little more than a contemporary outworking of tenets introduced by The Movement in the late 1950s, which reacted against what it considered excessive imprecision in the poetic language of the New Apocalypse poets of the 1940s, especially with regard to its metaphorical style. Referring to the New Apocalypse period, Robert Conquest, in his Introduction to his influential anthology of Movement poetry, New Lines, notes that ‘the debilitating theory that poetry must be metaphorical gained wide acceptance’.[16] In contrast to New Apocalypse poetry, he welcomes the emergence in the late 1940s and early 1950s of poets whose poetry is, ‘empirical in its attitude’[17] and values clear meanings along with a ‘refusal to abandon a rational structure and comprehensible language’.[18]


It is legitimate to ask in what sense was “The Movement” really a “movement”? In The Movement, Blake Morrison notes that the poets often included in this grouping, ‘themselves have frequently denied the validity of the group label that was affixed to them’.[19] However, such denials, he concludes,


should be treated with skepticism. Some show that same distaste for sensational journalism which can be detected in the Movement’s critics. Some, again, take the narrow view that the only bona fide movement is one in which all the poets gather in one place in order to plan a strategy. Others seem symptomatic of a dislike of being associated with any group activity [… ]. Most of the disavowals, moreover, were made in the late 1950s and early 1960s, at a time when the writers were beginning to move in different directions and wanted their “individual” talent to be recognized. The impugning of the Movement label is an understandable development, but not to be too readily trusted.[20]


Notwithstanding the niceties associated with the use of the term, the poetry advocated and practised by the poets often linked to it has had, nevertheless, a significant influence on British poetry since the 1950s; as Andrew Crozier has recognised: ‘The present-day canon has its roots in the Movement’.[21]


A later gathering of poets often acknowledged as being heirs to the Movement’s aesthetic became known as The Group. This group was initiated by Philip Hobsbaum who, while studying at Cambridge University, met Peter Redgrove who urged him to start a poetry group, which he did in his London flat in late 1955. Attendees at these meetings included Ted Hughes, George MacBeth, Peter Redgrove, Edward Lucie-Smith, Rosemary Joseph, Julian Cooper, Peter Porter, and Martin Bell. When Hobsbaum had to leave London in 1959 to study for a PhD at Sheffield University, Lucie-Smith took over running the London meetings until its disbandment in 1965, due to ever increasing numbers that made the original purpose of the meetings difficult to accomplish. Meanwhile, Hobsbaum now a lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast, formed a branch of the Group there. Attendees included Heaney, Michael Longley, Edna Longley, and Derek Mahon. Heaney was seen as something of a rising star within this group. This is noted by Ulster poet James Simmons: ‘In those old gatherings under the auspices of Philip Hobsbaum in Belfast it was obvious that Seamus was being groomed for stardom’.[22]


Although the Group asserted it had no unified poetic agenda as such, an indication of its poetic aims can be discerned from the sorts of poets it nurtured and the poetic values asserted by Hobsbaum himself.[23] The first thing that is noticeable about Hobsbaum’s poetic is its objection to the suggestiveness and lack of plot in T. S. Eliot’s poetry:


If we suggest Langland, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Eliot are among our greatest poets, it is the last-named that appears to be the wild card in the pack. All the others had a high regard for plot and logic that carries them through the aesthetic variability of their poetry. Eliot, on the other hand, seems to work rather by suggestion, qualitative progression, evocative catalogue.[24]


His criticism of Eliot extends to what he sees as the negative influence on English poetry of Eliot’s use of the American idiom: ‘Some damage was done to English verse by too close an imitation in the 1930s of the American idiom as evidenced in such poets as Eliot and Pound’.[25] He also sees a disparity between Eliot’s American writing-style and traditional English poetic writing practice. Although Hobsbaum does not see this in itself as necessarily negative, the implication is that American modernism is largely a geographical and cultural entity, unable to successfully function within an English milieu:


Again, Eliot’s work exhibits the characteristic American qualities of free association or phanopoeia and autobiographical content. English verse, however, has been at its best as fiction: an arrangement of what is external to the poet to convey the tension or release within.[26]


This poetic “nationalism” is also expressed more explicitly, and with some frustration in the following:


I would never deny that Eliot and Pound, who derive much from Whitman, are fine poets. But is it not time to insist that they are fine American poets? And that therefore the influence they may be expected to have on English poets is limited? [27]


Hobsbaum makes further statements as to the unsuitability of “American” modernism for the English reader:


Whitman’s abstractions and random collocations have a raw life of their own, a form even through their formlessness; and this has remained highly characteristic of American poetry ever since. The Waste Land (1922) is, indeed, a heap of broken images: this is its meaning, and, to some extent, its distinction. But that kind of writing has never worked well in England.[28]


However, he saw a remedy to this state of affairs in the Movement:


The poems of the Movement were self-contained, formal, and sought to be unrhetorical. Like most schools of poetry, the Movement proved too constricting for its more talented members. [… ] But the Movement was a necessary spring-cleaning whose real achievement may have been to arouse interest in a number of poets of the 1930s who had been unjustly neglected.[29]


Hobsbaum voiced reservations concerning the use of ambiguous language in poetry, preferring narrative devices and accurate description. He recognized in Edward Thomas that,


Thomas will often act out his feelings in terms of story, scene and character, rather than state it in his own person. And this brings him close to the writings of the finest poetic realists—Wordsworth, for example, whose best work is in narrative form, and is akin to the great nineteenth-century novelists, themselves the heirs of Shakespeare.[30]


The examination of Hobsbaum’s poetic attitudes bears some resemblance to those of his former tutor, F. R. Leavis. One can envisage Hobsbaum unequivocally agreeing with Leavis’s criticism of Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’, for what Leavis saw as its confused imagery due to Shelley’s ‘weak grasp upon the actual’.[31] Certainly, this is not something Leavis could accuse Heaney of, as Heaney’s poetry is characterized by a use of decidedly accurate description, especially of the quotidian in rural settings (Ciarán Carson refers to him as ‘a writer with the gift of precision’).[32] This, he has in common with Georgian poetry with its, ‘country cottages, old furniture, moss-covered barns, rose-scented lanes, apples and cherry orchards’.[33] Such is the accuracy of Heaney’s descriptiveness that it prompts J. W. Foster to write in The Achievement of Seamus Heaney:


Not only are Heaney’s poems about manual work on the farm—ploughing, planting, harvesting, horse-shoeing—but they are themselves manuals on how the work is actually done. It is amusing, for instance, to set ‘Churning Day’ beside E. Estyn Evan’s account of churning in Irish Heritage (1942) and Irish Folk Ways(1957).[34]


Moreover, this reliance upon descriptive accuracy lends to the charge that his poetry is readily paraphrasable. In ‘Seamus Heaney—from Major to Minor’, R. Caldwell observes that, ‘there is too often the feel with his poetry that the paraphrase is the end of the matter: there is little of the multifaceted richness of suggestion that invites one to probe further’.[35]


Something that should not be overlooked, as it is of some significance in an understanding of Heaney’s poetic temperament and modus operandi, is the influence upon him of Wordsworth. Hugh Haughton notes that ‘the Lake Poet’s texts haunt Heaney more radically than those of any other poet’,[36] and though ‘Heaney’s early poems do not directly echo Wordsworth, his criticism of the 1970s hitches them unforgettably to the Wordsworthian star’.[37] Also:


It was very much as an Irish follower of Wordsworth that Heaney first presented himself as a poet-critic. In critical discussions such as ‘Feeling and Words’ (1974) and ‘The Making of Music’ (1978), Heaney not only re-created Wordsworth in his own image but forged a poetic image of himself out of Wordsworth.[38]




Heaney’s sustained encounter with the Romantic poet during the 1970s played a crucial part in the forging of his discursive identity as a major poet, not only in the essays of Preoccupations (1980), which did so much to shape public perception of his work, but in the autobiographical poems of North (1975), Stations (1975), and the ‘Glanmore Sonnets’ of Field Work (1979).[39]




In his introduction to The Essential Wordsworth (1988), Heaney calls the Lake Poet’s achievement ‘the most securely founded in the canon of native English poetry’ since Milton’s. He declares him ‘an indispensable figure in the evolution of modern writing, a finder and keeper of the self-as-subject, a theorist and apologist whose Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1802) remains definitive’.[40]


Wordsworth’s penchant for writing apologia for his poetry is also apparent in Heaney who ‘has used critical prose as a powerful instrument in helping define the terms through which his own work can be understood. In readings, essays, interviews and lectures, he has proved himself […] an eloquent self-promoter of his own art’.[41] Moreover, he is ‘not only an unreconstructed admirer of the English Romantic poet but an avowed heir to the Wordsworthian defence of poetry’.[42]


Similarly to Wordsworth, Heaney also sees the value of poetry as having to do with its functionality as an educative process in service to humanistic and ethical concerns. In his 1989 inaugural lecture on having been elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University he said:


Professors of poetry, apologists for it, practitioners of it, from Sir Philip Sidney to Wallace Stevens, all sooner or later have to attempt to show how poetry’s existence at the level of art relates to our existence as citizens of society—how it is “of present use”.[43]


This “present use” is closely associated with politics, as is seen when he says:


The truth is, the purer and more concentrated a poet’s faculties and the more aligned within his sensibility the poles of politics and transcendence, then the simpler and more distinct will be something that we might call the poetic DNA pattern.[44]


Moreover, Heaney readily admits to humanist leanings when he says, ‘I am still enough of a humanist to believe that poetry arises from the same source as that ideal future which Derek Mahon, in his poem ‘The Sea in Winter’, envisages’.[45] Additionally, Heaney shows his deference to Wordsworth’s emphasis on poetry as a vehicle for unambiguous content by saying that, ‘as Wordsworth once said, our subject is indeed important’.[46]


Later he says that, ‘the best poetry will not only register the assault of the actual and quail under the brunt of necessity; it will also embody the spirit’s protest against all that’.[47] The interesting thing here is that Heaney views the ‘assault of the actual’ as a given, independent of poetic linguistic invention and creativity. His vaguely phrased qualification to this assertion (‘it will also embody the spirit’s protest against all that’) can be taken less seriously since such a “protest” is absent from his own poetry.


I am aware it is not composition etiquette to conclude an article with a quote but I feel that in this instance it would be appropriate. One of the most perceptive criticisms of Heaney is that made by Al Alvarez, which is cited in James Fenton’s The Strength of Poetry:


If Heaney really is the best we can do, then the whole troubled, exploratory thrust of modern poetry has been a diversion from the right true way. Eliot and his contemporaries, Lowell and his, Plath and hers had it all wrong: to try to make clearings of sense and discipline and style in the untamed, unfenced darkness was to mistake morbidity for inspiration. It was, in the end, mere melodrama, understandable perhaps in the Americans who lack a tradition in these matters, but inexcusable in the British. [48]


[1] Seamus Heaney, Beyond the Fiddle’, interview in the online journal of the Poetry Foundation, (December 2008)[accessed 24 March 2009] (Answer to 15th interview question).

[2] Seamus Heaney, ‘The Redress of Poetry’, An Inaugural Lecture, Oxford University, October 1989, printed by Oxford University Press, p.144.

[3] Heaney, p.136.

[4] Heaney, p.168.

[5] Heaney, p.5.

[6] Seamus Heaney, ‘The Redress of Poetry’, An Inaugural Lecture, Oxford University, October 1989, printed by Oxford University Press, p.6.

[7] Heaney, p.138.

[8] Heaney, p.66.

[9] Heaney, p.70.

[10] Heaney, p.78.

[11] Heaney, p.71.

[12] Heaney, p.67.

[13] Heaney, p.67.

[14] Heaney, p.159.

[15] Introduction, The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry, ed. by B. Morrison and A. Motion (London: Penguin Books, 1982), p.15.

[16] Robert Conquest, New Lines: An Anthology (London: Macmillan & Co Ltd, 1957), p.xii.

[17] Conquest, p.xv.

[18] Conquest, p.xv.

[19] Blake Morrison, The Movement: English Poetry and Fiction in the 1950s (London: Routledge, 1980), pp.4‒5.

[20] Morrison, p. 5.

[21] Quoted in Antony Easthope, Englishness and National Culture (London: Routledge, 1999), p 184.

[22] Quoted in James Fenton, The Strength of Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.92.

[23] As was indicated earlier, Heaney was something of a protégé of Hobsbaum and it is perhaps reasonable to assume that Heaney’s poetic may owe something to this fact. Indeed, Hobsbaum’s involvement with The Group (which is seen as an heir to many of the Movement’s poetic concerns) and his personal championing of Heaney as a talent indicates that Hobsbaum was somewhat decisive in Heaney’s poetical and professional development.

[24] Philip Hobsbaum, Tradition and Experiment in English Poetry (London and Basingstoke: Macmillan Press Ltd, 1979), p. 256.

[25] Hobsbaum, p.xii.

[26] Hobsbaum, p.290.

[27] Hobsbaum, p.291.

[28] Hobsbaum, p.294.

[29] Hobsbaum, p.298.

[30] Hobsbaum, p.299.

[31] F. R. Leavis, Revaluation: Tradition and Development in English Poetry (London: Chatto & Windus, 1956), p.206.

[32] Quoted in Fenton, p.93.

[33] J. Reeves, Georgian Poetry (London: Penguin, 1962), p.xv.

[34] J. W. Foster, The Achievement of Seamus Heaney (Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1995), p.7.

[35] R. Caldwell, ‘Seamus Heaney—From Major to Minor’, P. N. Review, 5 vol. 24 (1998), 63‒64 (p.64).

[36] Hugh Haughton, ‘Power and Hiding Places: Wordsworth and Seamus Heaney’, in The Monstrous Debt: Modalities of Romantic Influence in Twentieth-Century Literature, ed. by D. A. Davies and R. M. Turley (Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 2006), pp.61‒100 (p.62).

[37] Haughton, Davies and Turley, The Monstrous Debt, p.63.

[38] Haughton, Davies and Turley, The Monstrous Debt, p.62.

[39] Haughton, Davies and Turley, The Monstrous Debt, p.62.

[40] Haughton, Davies and Turley, The Monstrous Debt, p.65.

[41] Haughton, Davies and Turley, The Monstrous Debt, p.75.

[42] Haughton, Davies and Turley, The Monstrous Debt, p.64.

[43] Seamus Heaney, ‘The Redress of Poetry’, An Inaugural Lecture, Oxford University, October 1989, printed by Oxford University Press, p.1.

[44] Heaney, Lecture, p.6.

[45] Heaney, Lecture, p.10.

[46] Heaney, Lecture, p.7.

[47] Heaney, Lecture, p.7.

[48] Quoted in James Fenton, The Strength of Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.89.

Jeffrey Side

Jeffrey Side has had poetry published in various magazines such as Poetry Salzburg Review, and on poetry websites such as Textimagepoem, 9th St. Laboratories, Big Bridge, Apochrypaltext, Underground Window, Great Works, Poethia, The Dande Review, Dusie, Poetry Bay, Poet’s Corner, Nthposition, Shadow Train, Eratio, Ancient Heart Magazine, Blazevox, P.F.S. Post, Hutt, Ken Again, and CybpherAnthology. He has reviewed poetry for New Hope International, Stride Magazine, Acumen Magazine, and Shearsman Magazine. From 1996 to 2000 he was the assistant editor of The Argotist magazine. He now edits The Argotist Online.

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