Heaney and Muldoon: Omphalos and Diaspora

Elmer Kennedy-Andrews

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The essay argues that for Heaney, place is the primal and primary determinant - the ground, the omphalos - of identity, stability and continuity for both self and community. Displaced from origins, from family and community, from a traditional folkloric ethos and magical world-view, he reconstitutes himself in a literary culture through which he seeks to recuperate and re-enter the 'first place' of childhood, to re-discover the mythical centre, the omphalos, in the super-reality of the text. By contrast, Muldoon dispels the sacramental sense of place, essentialist notions of identity, and nostalgic visions of lost plenitude. His alter/native text relishes the dialogue of difference, creating a world of process in which language, identity, tradition, nation are scattered, and we are inducted into hybrid states and composite cultures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPaul Muldoon: Poetry, Prose, Drama: A Collection of Critical Essays
    EditorsElmer Kennedy-Andrews
    PublisherColin Smythe
    ISBN (Print)0-86140-459-9
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2006


    • Seamus Heaney
    • Paul Muldoon
    • contemporary Irish poetry
    • home
    • diaspora
    • migrancy


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