TED HUGHES AND SEAMUS HEANEY (COMMENT). I received a comment here from the proprietor of the Sidestep blog with kind words for Paterfamilias and a suggestion that I might find his blog interesting. I do. Sidestep is a much more ambitious blog than mine, with long essays full of insights on interesting topics. This essay on Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney seems to be representative and is of great interest for me. The essay, which has a lot of close reading of their poems, is built on the question of whether Heaney can be called an “Irish poet” and Hughes and “English poet”, and it has a number of insights about the Irish and English literary traditions. For me, however, the essay makes a finer point that echoes the themes of some recent posts: that both poets are notable for their celebrations of their localities (I posted here on how in nineteenth century France the “pays” with its own dialect, costume and customs might be as small as the area in which its church bell could be heard). The essay shows how Hughes is “influenced by specific rural landscapes, folklores and dialects”; his themes are “typical of a rural Yorkshireman.” The essay also shows how Heaney’s poems are grounded in Ireland, in localities like Inishbofin, with “turfsmoke” and “potatoes in a field on the riverbank.”

This entry was posted in Literature. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jesie says:

    Although Heaney is from Ireland and Hughes was from England, I believe it is unfair to stereotype the men by calling them an “Irish Poet” and an “English Poet.” Both poets were influenced by their countries but were also influenced by each other. They do not deserve to be grouped into crowds of completely unrelated writers. Heaney and Hughes were best friends and knew each other and each other’s style as well as their own. Their connection and relationship was stronger than a stereotype of nationality. I believe they are linked in their poetry no matter their backgrounds. I agree that Heaney’s poetry is set in Ireland but his poem Casting and Gathering portrays himself and Hughes and their camaraderie. In relation to influences, their friendship is just as important as their nationalities.

  2. Pingback: Feedback On the Spring Research Project | Entering Heaven Through the Ear of a Raindrop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.