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North, by Seamus Heaney

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  1. Introduction
  2. Heaney's profound sense of metaphor
  3. The experience of returning to the North
  4. Seamus Deane's review of Heaney's objective
  5. A theme that is present through out the book
  6. The final lines of 'Kinship'
  7. The voice of the woman
  8. The image of the birth cord
  9. Conclusion
  10. Works cited

In 1975, Seamus Heaney came out with his fourth book of poetry, North. Although the third volume, ?Wintering Out? foreshadows many of the same themes, it is North, according to several critics that develops these themes, and establishes a turning point in Heaney's poetry. According to Anthony Thwaite, journalist for the Time Literary Supplement in 1975, the book is not only ?mature? but ?noble? as well.

[...] Indeed, Heaney digs up more than antiquated words in the poems of North, and his previous books. He is interested in history, in what it means to be Irish, and in the whole writing process. One of Heaney's earliest poems ?Digging? speaks of his family who for years had made their living digging potatoes and peat. Heaney, on the other hand chooses to dig with his pen instead, to make his living digging words and history, which is the inspiration behind North. [...]

[...] It is this tradition that Heaney draws on in ?Kinship? and many of his other poems. He presents the ground as female in a similar way that the whole country of Ireland is traditionally presented as being female. In of Union,? and ?Ocean's Love to Ireland,? Ireland is inescapably female in the same way that England is ?still imperially Male.? (North, 43.) In he describes the ground as being an ?Insatiable bride.? (North, 34.) In addition to being a bride, the ground is also a mother and a goddess. [...]

[...] It is as if through his ?digging? he finds a place to stand, he finds solid ground in a crumbling universe. He finds truth amidst the terror of history. He finds himself, in the rubble of violence and the secrets of the opened ground. Works Cited Murphy, Richard. ?Poetry and Terror,? New York Review of Books, no September p. 38-40. Volume 38. Thwaite, Anthony. ?Neighbourly Murders,? The Times Literary Supplement Friday August p Volume 74. Pritchard, William H. ?More Poetry Matters,? The Hudson Review, Autumn 1976. [...]

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