Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in 1939. At the age of 12 he won a scholarship to St. Columb’s College, a Catholic boarding school. He graduated from Queen’s College, Belfast, in 1961 and published his first book of poetry in 1965.
In 1995 he was award the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Heaney’s poetry is often deceptively simple, but each re-reading reveals new layers of meaning, fires new connections in the brain. In it he celebrates his relationship with his wife and his father, explores his fascination with and appreciation for the Irish landscape and evokes a childhood which helps us to understand his fascination with violence, both ancient and modern, at home and abroad. Reading his poetry is truly a wonderful experience because it helps us to look at timeless themes (love, landscape, violence, history) through fresh eyes.
In this Study Guide, we offer an outline of the major events in Heaney’s life and analyse the following poems:
- The Skunk
- A Call
- The Tollund Man
- A Constable Calls
NOTE: This is a PODCAST not a word file – download onto your iPod/mp3 player. Listen whenever & wherever you want to help you get to grips with the poet.