Monday, March 21, 2005

On Seamus Heaney

Today in tutorial Prof. Kuin read Seamus Heaney's 'Digging.' I don't know what it was, but I really liked it. The poem is very Irish, but I'm not the least bit Irish, but it still moved something in me. Before I give my abstract thoughts on the poem, I would like to give some more concrete observations about it. Like what we'll have to do for our test.
I like the emjambment Heaney uses in the 5th line of the poem; the line falls over to the next stanza. But what makes it interesting is that the lines reads: "My father, digging. I look down/ Till his straining..." When we read the line, we literally have to look down to the next stanza.
Also the repetition of the word 'dig' and 'digging' throughout the poem. This brings attention to the word and what it means, not just the literal meaning of digging, as in for potatoes and peat, but digging in a more metaphysical/abstract way. Digging into the past and looking at ones history; the way Heaney is in his poem.
Finally, as I know we all have other more important things to do than read long blogs right now, I would like to comment on the last stanza. I think in this stanza Heaney is stating that he will continue the Irish traditions, but in a different way. He will write about his people; he will start a literary dig! *I know that was kind of cheesy.

Read the poem, it's on pg 1788. I'm pretty sure he falls under the modernist period.

28 Comments:

Blogger Maya B said...

What I really liked about the poem "Digging", was the use of assonance and sounds. Our topic was the Poet's Ear, and I thought that this poem was a good example of poetry as an art of the senses, particularly hearing. I just remember being very drawn to the sounds of the words that Heaney chose to use.

P.S I'm so not Irish but we can appreciate the culture none the less. :)

March 24, 2005 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Annie Wong said...

hey sid

Although it might sound cheesy, i think you hit it right on. Instead of a the spade, he digs with a pen. ITs a nice analogy too because the fountian pen and shovel both have trianglar heads.

Love, annie.

March 28, 2005 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Sidd Rawte said...

I agree with you both, the technical aspects are really done well, I guess that's why Seamus Heany is a famous poet! I've read some of his other poems and they all (at least the ones I read) have a solid grounding in sound. I think Heaney is very deliberate in choosing words that appeal to the ear...But then again, don't all poets?!
But Annie, I never realised that the head of a shovel and fountain pen are both triangular, it is interesting how he brought the two concepts together using shape.

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