Death of a Naturalist and Door into the Dark

  • Elmer Andrews


From the very beginning of his career the conflict between the impulse to use poetry as a response to social demands and a notion of poetry as divination and revelation has been present in Heaney’s work. Interviewed by Seamus Deane in 1977 about the relationship of Ulster poets to ‘the Northern crisis’, Heaney said:

… the root of the troubles may have something in common with the root of the poetry. The very first poems I wrote, ‘Docker’ and one about Carrickfergus castle for instance, reveal the common root. The latter had William of Orange, English tourists and myself in it. A very inept sort of poem but my first attempts to speak, to make verse, faced with the Northern sectarian problem. Then this went underground and I became very influenced by Hughes and one part of my temperament took over: the private County Deny childhood part of myself rather than the slightly aggravated young Catholic male part.1


Natural World Auditory Imagination Mirror Stage Syntactic Unit Dark Pool 
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  1. 18.
    See Blake Morrison, Seamus Heaney (London: Methuen, 1982) p. 19.Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Quoted in Robert Buttel, Seamus Heaney (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1975) p. 27.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elmer Andrews 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elmer Andrews
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UlsterUK

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