#Poetry Seamus Heaney on P. Kavanagh
- Author Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)
- Essay: From Monaghan to the Grand Canal ( Dublin)
- Genre: analytical essay
- Triva: famous poem Bluebells “The Bluebells Have Withered”
- List Challenges 2018
- Monthly planning
- I had never heard of Patrick Kavanagh.
- He is the most important Irish poet between
- ….the death of W.B. Yeats and
- ….the rise of Seamus Heaney (review)
- I read when the Irish Times compiled a
- list of favorite Irish poems in 2000
- …10 of Kavanagh’s poems were in the top 50.
- I wanted to know why Kavanagh is so popular.
- His Wikipedia page…..gave me the basics
- He struggled in life and literature.
- An essay about Kavanagh by Seamus Heaney
- …is a good place to start my investigation!
Who was Patrick Kavanagh? (1904–1967) .
- He was born in County Monaghan
- …the son of a small farmer.
- He left school at 13 to work the land.
- He continued to educate himself, reading and writing poetry.
- In 1939 he moved to Dublin and became a freelance writer.
Essay: From Monaghan to the Grand Canal ( Dublin)
- Seamus Heaney portraits Patrick Kavanagh as a man
- who was not compensated enough for what he created.
- The first lines of the essay are a direct quote by Kavanagh:
- “I has never been much considered by the English critics’.
- Heaney admits the overall impression after reading Kavanagh’s
- Collected Poems is a man who knows he can do the real thing
- …but much of the time he is straining and failing.
Strong point: analysis of 3 poems:
- Heaney analyses the poem Inniskeen Road: July Evening.
- It is a love poem to a place written towards the end of the affair.
- Inniskeen is the poet’s birthplace and home for more than 30 years.
- Theme: Solitude: solitude of the ROAD and solitude of the POET.
- Heaney also explains one of Kavanagh’s complex poems:
- Bluebells For Love
- Kavanagh’s most celebrated poem is The Great Hunger.
- It was published in 1942 and is elegy
- a rage against the dying light of a country farmyard.
- Tone: tragic about small-farm misery
- but with a tinge of a comically serious conversation.
- I missed a clear structure in this essay.
- Heaney is a man whose every word should be appreciated
- but I felt I was skipping from poem
- …to personal background
- then to anecdotes about past poets (Brian Merriaman (1747-1805);
- William Carleton (1794-1869); Austin Clarke (1896-1974).
- Suddenly I was in Kavanagh’s autobiography The Green Fool.
- Perhaps Heaney could have reduced the scope
- ..of his essay to just a few
- of Kavanagh’s poems…..and leave it at that.
- I did learn what I was looking for….
- Why was Kavanagh so popular?
- Heaney explains that the
- …Kavanagh expresses a hard buried life that goes
- beyond the feel of the middle-class novelist or poet.
- Kavanagh’s best work rises up
- to the surface under internal pressure.
- You could compare it to a artesian well.
- The pressure from the confining layers inside Kavanagh
- forces the words and emotions upward into his poems.
- Wordsworth believed that
- …the poem is the record of a great emotion,
- later recollected in tranquility.
- After reading Inniskeen Road: July Evening and especially
- Bluebells For Love and The Bluebells have Withered
- …I can say the poems produced
- discoveries, connections and glimmers of expression
- …that I just loved.
- Probably that is what readers like about Kavanagh’s writing.