Seamus Heaney Bogland Analysis Essay

Written in free verse, the poem’s progression depends largely on the lines’ enjambment, which pulls readers down the page as the poet is drawn deeper into the landscape. For example, stanza 1 concludes with the image of the poet’s eye surveying the “Encroaching horizon,” which is completed in the opening lines of the second stanza as his eye is “wooed into the cyclops’ eye/ Of a tarn.” Similarly, the last line of stanza 4, “The ground itself is kind, black butter,” is continued in the first line of the fifth stanza, which echoes the theme of the bog’s “Melting and opening underfoot.” Just as stanzas 4 and 5 are linked syntactically by “butter/ Melting,” so the grammatical distinctions between stanzas and sentences become blurred.

“Bogland” presents the poet as historical, cultural, and artistic archaeologist. Heaney had been influenced by P. V. Glob’s The Bog People (1966), an account of a Danish excavation of a first century settlement in Windeby, Germany. The marshy German terrain had nearly perfectly preserved several bodies and artifacts, and Heaney recognized the swamp’s potential to serve as a metaphor for human experience. Instead of civilization progressing linearly along a time line, cultures were built upon each other like the layers of sediment in the bog. This treatment of history is reminiscent of T. S. Eliot’s description in part 5 of The Waste Land (1922) of how civilization is built...

(The entire section is 429 words.)

Essay Postmodernism in Heaney's Poems Bogland and Tollund Man

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This research takes a postmodern approach to Seamus Heaney's two poems: Bogland and The Tollund Man. The evidences in the research bring illuminations to the significant issues of postmodern concept. Heaney's poetry was studied in myth, politics and revolutionary movement in the area of Irish classical poetry. Recently, his poems are considered as postmodern. To answer that how much his poems are traditional, modern or postmodern is the aim of this project.

Key Words: postmodernism, myth, imagery, technique, poetry, deadly, violence, corpse, bog, imagination, freedom.


This research is a case study including discussions and analysis of two poems by Seamus Heaney, one of the postmodern poets. The…show more content…

It discusses how the corpses from ancient world and primitive customs present themselves to the poem. It's also about the strangeness in today's conditions and how Heaney changes his descriptive statements and emotional account into images in his poetry. It says that what is considered is the history of present and the whole world is in imaginative language.

Heaney's poetry is the imagination and dreams of freedom in his mirror and writing these poems is an act of expressing what is happening in his mind.

Today postmodernism is considered as a reproduction of ancient traditions. Postmodernism like modernism, follows the ideas of rejecting boundaries between high and low forms of art, rejecting inflexible genre distinctions, and emphasizing parody, irony and playfulness.1

Postmodernism points to a growing reality in culture. Anything fast, image centered, any thing that shocks or no longer keeps the tradition in itself can be considered postmodern.

Dr. Christopher Carter, one of the professors at University of Louisville believes:

From Adrienne Rich to Jacques Derrida, poets continually attack conventional boundaries, recondition them, ignore them. Postmodern poets often subvert the very forms they appropriate. They pose as different selves while refusing to speak for anyone, risk the same audiences they attract, revitalize senses and emotions flattened by mass market culture. They compose a cacophonous music which thrives on

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