' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Heaney often reflected on the relationship between the freedoms of the creative imagination and the restrictions imposed by conditions on the ground, describing this tension as one ‘to which all artists are susceptible, just as the children of temperamentally opposed parents are susceptible. The child in this case is the poet, and the parents are Art and Life’. The broad trajectory of his oeuvre is evident enough: initially painting the life of his native world in ‘thick and faithful pigments’, his art became increasingly impressionistic and etherial as it climbed away from earthly matters (‘art’, writes Heaney in his essay ‘The Government of the Tongue’, ‘improvises an inspired sketch’ of ‘a better reality’), before returning to reappraise familiar ground in late volumes such as 'Electric Light'. Following the movement of birds as they migrate through this body of work is as good a way as any of tracking how the ‘appetites of gravity’ so characteristic of Heaney’s early writing were transformed into an imaginative mastery of ‘new rungs of the air’ (‘The First Flight’) in the transcendent impulse of middle-period work, before the birds come home to roost in late intimations of mortality.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Life of Birds in Literature
EditorsMarie-Luise Egbert
Place of PublicationTrier
Pages119-143
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Fingerprint

Art
Seamus Heaney
Birds
Early Writings
Intimations
Mortality
Trajectory
Artist
Poet
Tongue
Gravity
Air
Impulse
Flight
Transcendent
Pigments
Government
Mastery
Appetite

Keywords

  • Seamus Heaney
  • poetry
  • birds

Cite this

Hancock, T. (2015). ' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'. In M-L. Egbert (Ed.), The Life of Birds in Literature (pp. 119-143). Trier.
Hancock, Tim. / ' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'. The Life of Birds in Literature. editor / Marie-Luise Egbert. Trier, 2015. pp. 119-143
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keywords = "Seamus Heaney, poetry, birds",
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note = "Reference text: Bloom, Harold. ‘The Voice of Kinship.’ Times Literary Supplement 8 February 1980: 137-8. Print. Cole, Henri. ‘Interview: Seamus Heaney, The Art of Poetry No. 75.’ The Paris Review. 144 (1997). Web. 27 August 2014. <http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1217/the-art-of-poetry-no-75-seamus-heaney> Corcoran, Neil. The Poetry of Seamus Heaney. Revised edition. London: Faber and Faber, 1998. Print. Ellmann, Maud. The Poetics of Impersonality: T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Brighton: Harvester, 1987. Print. Haffenden, John. Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation. London: Faber and Faber, 1981. Print. Hardy, Thomas. Selected Poetry. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978. Print. Heaney, Seamus. Death of a Naturalist. London: Faber and Faber, 1966. Print. ---. Door into the Dark. London: Faber and Faber, 1969. Print. ---. District and Circle. London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print. ---. Electric Light. London: Faber and Faber, 2001. Print. ---. Field Work. London: Faber and Faber, 1979. Print. ---. Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971 – 2001. London: Faber and Faber, 2002. Print. ---. Human Chain. London: Faber and Faber, 2010. Print. ---. North. London: Faber and Faber, 1975. Print. ---. Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968 – 1978. London: Faber and Faber, 1980. Print. ---. Seeing Things. London: Faber and Faber, 1991. Print. ---. Station Island. London: Faber and Faber, 1984. Print. ---. Stations. Belfast: Ulsterman Publications, 1975. Print. ---. Sweeney Astray. London: Faber and Faber, 1984. Print. ---. The Government of the Tongue. London: Faber and Faber, 1988. Print. ---. The Haw Lantern. London: Faber and Faber, 1987. Print. ---. The Redress of Poetry. London: Faber and Faber, 1995. Print. ---. The Spirit Level. London: Faber and Faber, 1996. Print. ---. Wintering Out. London: Faber and Faber, 1972. Print. Hopkins, Gerard Manley. Poems and Prose. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1953. Print. Hughes, Ted. Lupercal. London: Faber and Faber, 1960. Print. Keats, John. The Complete Poems. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973. Print. Kinahan, Frank. ‘An Interview with Seamus Heaney.’ Critical Enquiry 8.3 (1982): 405-14. Print. Kramer, Jill. ‘Rusty Schweikart: Space Man’. Jill Kramer, 7 July 2004. Web. 27 August 2014. <http://jillkramer.net/rusty-schweickart-space-man/> Laird, Nick. ‘Human Chain by Seamus Heaney: review’. The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2010. Web. 28 August 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/7977782/Human-Chain-by-Seamus-Heaney-review.html> O’Driscoll, Dennis. Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney. London: Faber and Faber, 2008. Print. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Poetical Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970. Print. Shklovsky, Viktor. “Art as Technique.” Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays. Ed. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reiss. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965. 3-24. Print. Thomas, Dylan. The Poems. Ed. Daniel Jones. Revised edition. London: Dent, 1974. Print. T{\'o}ib{\'i}n, Colm. ‘Human Chain by Seamus Heaney – review’. The Guardian: Review Section. 21 August 2010: 6. Print. Wordsworth, William. The Oxford Authors: William Wordsworth. Ed. Stephen Gill. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984. Print. Yeats, William Butler. Yeats’s Poems. Ed. A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan, 1989. Print.",
year = "2015",
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editor = "Marie-Luise Egbert",
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Hancock, T 2015, ' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'. in M-L Egbert (ed.), The Life of Birds in Literature. Trier, pp. 119-143.

' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'. / Hancock, Tim.

The Life of Birds in Literature. ed. / Marie-Luise Egbert. Trier, 2015. p. 119-143.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - ' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'

AU - Hancock, Tim

N1 - Reference text: Bloom, Harold. ‘The Voice of Kinship.’ Times Literary Supplement 8 February 1980: 137-8. Print. Cole, Henri. ‘Interview: Seamus Heaney, The Art of Poetry No. 75.’ The Paris Review. 144 (1997). Web. 27 August 2014. <http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1217/the-art-of-poetry-no-75-seamus-heaney> Corcoran, Neil. The Poetry of Seamus Heaney. Revised edition. London: Faber and Faber, 1998. Print. Ellmann, Maud. The Poetics of Impersonality: T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Brighton: Harvester, 1987. Print. Haffenden, John. Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation. London: Faber and Faber, 1981. Print. Hardy, Thomas. Selected Poetry. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978. Print. Heaney, Seamus. Death of a Naturalist. London: Faber and Faber, 1966. Print. ---. Door into the Dark. London: Faber and Faber, 1969. Print. ---. District and Circle. London: Faber and Faber, 2006. Print. ---. Electric Light. London: Faber and Faber, 2001. Print. ---. Field Work. London: Faber and Faber, 1979. Print. ---. Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971 – 2001. London: Faber and Faber, 2002. Print. ---. Human Chain. London: Faber and Faber, 2010. Print. ---. North. London: Faber and Faber, 1975. Print. ---. Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968 – 1978. London: Faber and Faber, 1980. Print. ---. Seeing Things. London: Faber and Faber, 1991. Print. ---. Station Island. London: Faber and Faber, 1984. Print. ---. Stations. Belfast: Ulsterman Publications, 1975. Print. ---. Sweeney Astray. London: Faber and Faber, 1984. Print. ---. The Government of the Tongue. London: Faber and Faber, 1988. Print. ---. The Haw Lantern. London: Faber and Faber, 1987. Print. ---. The Redress of Poetry. London: Faber and Faber, 1995. Print. ---. The Spirit Level. London: Faber and Faber, 1996. Print. ---. Wintering Out. London: Faber and Faber, 1972. Print. Hopkins, Gerard Manley. Poems and Prose. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1953. Print. Hughes, Ted. Lupercal. London: Faber and Faber, 1960. Print. Keats, John. The Complete Poems. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973. Print. Kinahan, Frank. ‘An Interview with Seamus Heaney.’ Critical Enquiry 8.3 (1982): 405-14. Print. Kramer, Jill. ‘Rusty Schweikart: Space Man’. Jill Kramer, 7 July 2004. Web. 27 August 2014. <http://jillkramer.net/rusty-schweickart-space-man/> Laird, Nick. ‘Human Chain by Seamus Heaney: review’. The Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2010. Web. 28 August 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/7977782/Human-Chain-by-Seamus-Heaney-review.html> O’Driscoll, Dennis. Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney. London: Faber and Faber, 2008. Print. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Poetical Works. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970. Print. Shklovsky, Viktor. “Art as Technique.” Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays. Ed. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reiss. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965. 3-24. Print. Thomas, Dylan. The Poems. Ed. Daniel Jones. Revised edition. London: Dent, 1974. Print. Tóibín, Colm. ‘Human Chain by Seamus Heaney – review’. The Guardian: Review Section. 21 August 2010: 6. Print. Wordsworth, William. The Oxford Authors: William Wordsworth. Ed. Stephen Gill. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984. Print. Yeats, William Butler. Yeats’s Poems. Ed. A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan, 1989. Print.

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N2 - Heaney often reflected on the relationship between the freedoms of the creative imagination and the restrictions imposed by conditions on the ground, describing this tension as one ‘to which all artists are susceptible, just as the children of temperamentally opposed parents are susceptible. The child in this case is the poet, and the parents are Art and Life’. The broad trajectory of his oeuvre is evident enough: initially painting the life of his native world in ‘thick and faithful pigments’, his art became increasingly impressionistic and etherial as it climbed away from earthly matters (‘art’, writes Heaney in his essay ‘The Government of the Tongue’, ‘improvises an inspired sketch’ of ‘a better reality’), before returning to reappraise familiar ground in late volumes such as 'Electric Light'. Following the movement of birds as they migrate through this body of work is as good a way as any of tracking how the ‘appetites of gravity’ so characteristic of Heaney’s early writing were transformed into an imaginative mastery of ‘new rungs of the air’ (‘The First Flight’) in the transcendent impulse of middle-period work, before the birds come home to roost in late intimations of mortality.

AB - Heaney often reflected on the relationship between the freedoms of the creative imagination and the restrictions imposed by conditions on the ground, describing this tension as one ‘to which all artists are susceptible, just as the children of temperamentally opposed parents are susceptible. The child in this case is the poet, and the parents are Art and Life’. The broad trajectory of his oeuvre is evident enough: initially painting the life of his native world in ‘thick and faithful pigments’, his art became increasingly impressionistic and etherial as it climbed away from earthly matters (‘art’, writes Heaney in his essay ‘The Government of the Tongue’, ‘improvises an inspired sketch’ of ‘a better reality’), before returning to reappraise familiar ground in late volumes such as 'Electric Light'. Following the movement of birds as they migrate through this body of work is as good a way as any of tracking how the ‘appetites of gravity’ so characteristic of Heaney’s early writing were transformed into an imaginative mastery of ‘new rungs of the air’ (‘The First Flight’) in the transcendent impulse of middle-period work, before the birds come home to roost in late intimations of mortality.

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Hancock T. ' "Small dreamself in the branches": Seamus Heaney's birds'. In Egbert M-L, editor, The Life of Birds in Literature. Trier. 2015. p. 119-143