Death of a Naturalist: A study of Seamus Heaney's first book of poems.
Seamus Heaney, the famed Irish poet, was the product of two completely different social and psychological orders. Living on "a small farm of some fifty acres in County Derry in Northern Ireland" (Nobel eMuseum), Seamus Heaney's childhood was spent primarily in the company of nature and the local wildlife. His father, a man by the name of Patrick Heaney, had a penchant for farming and working the land. Seamus' mother Margaret, in contrast, was a woman born into a family called McCann, who's major dealings were with business dealings, trade and "the modern world" (Nobel eMuseum). Patrick Heaney was a man of few words, and preferred the quiet life of a farmer to the vocal world of trade and industry. Margaret Heaney was in fact quite the opposite and believed in speaking out, being heard and was seldom shy in expressing her feelings (Nobel eMuseum). These two extreme contrasts were enormously influential in the shaping of Seamus as a man and as a poet, and his first book Death of a Naturalist is a testament to this. Death of a Naturalist focuses on nature and wildlife as well as human emotions, and using poetry as his medium, Seamus Heaney shows his readers with specific reference to love and death, the images of nature that are associated with his father, and intertwines them with the human feelings and emotions that are closely linked with his mother. Love is a prominent theme in Seamus Heaney's first book of poems, and it is worthwhile noting that just one year after Heaney married the love of his life, a woman named Mary Devlin, that Heaney wrote and released Death of a Naturalist (Nobel eMuseum). It might be confusing for one to imagine a relationship between the wild and natural world and a human characteristic such as love, but Seamus Heaney manages to bring the two themes together in a deeply poetic and fitting fashion. In the poem Twice Shy, love is the governing premise....
Cited: Heaney, Seamus. Death of a Naturalist. Chatham, Kent: Faber and Faber Limited, 1999.
"Seamus Heaney Biography" Nobel eMuseum.
November 15, 2001.
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