Seamus Heaney an Irish poet and writer was awarded the noble Prize in 1995. In the course of his careers, he contributed to the promotions of artistic and educational cause, both in Ireland and abroad.
Heaney’s approach is rational, scientific and it is imaginative as well. This is a paradox that Heaney is scientific and imaginative at the some time. But he does convey his thought in an impressive and convincing way. He seeks balance and does justice to both reality and imagination. He lives to convey his thought and meaning through appropriate language and words and he avoids all superfluous expressions. His approach is anecdotal. Heaney’s style is that he begins by giving examples or by telling stories. He developes an argument with the help of stories, as he begins his essay “The Redress Of Poetry” with the story of fantastic crew from some other world ariving on the earth.
Heaney’s style is a blend of the classical and the romantic. He as also has an intuitive approach. He very much bases his arguments on the sixth sense though he is a practical thinker. Thus like the romantics, he believes in institution and like the neo-classics, he believes in reason and practice. He is also didactic. He believes that the poet has a responsibility and that is to respond the questions raised by life. He believes that poetry gives lessons. This is Heaney’s mysticism. Heaney is an idealist too. He is of the view that poetry gives an alternative view of life—a view of what life ought to be is desirable as well as possible.
Heaney’s approach is historical. He sees the issues of poetry in the historical perspective. For instance, he starts the essay with Plato’s condemnation of poetry. Another aspect of his classical approach is that he believes in authority. He quotes other writers, critics and poets in his favour. This is a classical style of argumentation . His arguments are based upon other’s views besides his own reason. There are many textual references in his writings, such as references to the poems of Robert Frost, Hardy, George Herbert and his own poetry. There are allusions from Poetry as well as from prose. Heaney’s well known for his antithetical style which has also been very popular among the schoolmen. Heaney is very much conscious of Paradoxes- “Creators/Creative, heaven/earth, soul/body, eternity/Home, life/death, Christ/man, grace/guilt, virtue/sin.” All these antitheses help Heaney a lot in his defence of poetry.
Heaney’s Prose style has the qualities of precision and meaning through appropriate language and words. His use of proper words in proper places is in a straight forward manner. His prose style is aphoristic But his aphorisms are not as striking as those of Bacon. Still there is a glimpse of his tersness of thought. As he says;
“Poetry is comprehensive of events but not itself productive of new events”
“Life raises questions; Poetry answers them”.
“Poetry leads from delight to wisdom”.
“Poetry leads from delight to wisdom”.
These kinds of paradoxes, balances, counter balances, comparisons and contrasts are typical of Heaney’s prose style. He also appeals to the common sense of the every day practice of life to bring a point home. As he says we condemn English by using the English language .Through language and Media we have already been influenced by what we condemn. This creates another Paradox, and it is a culture paradox. Heaney uses linguistic paradox as well as a culture paradox. Heaney talks of force can be physically expressed as one shaking with excitement. Like Eliot Heaney also believes in a personal mind and a communal mind. The two become one, as in the case of Irish Poets, Poetry and Politics become one .The individual poet has the same feelings of liberation does not become a proganda.
Heaney’s approach is partly religious, partly intuitive, partly anecdotal and partly rational. Thus it is a blend of the neo-Classic, the Scientific, the romantic and the pragmatic. He is versatile and practical thinker. He, unlike the schoolmen, is not dogmatic. He talks, argues analyses and critically evaluates the commonly held beliefs and then gives own philosophy the basis of the opinions of different critics, poets and writers and all this makes his essay “The Redress Of Poetry” a literary achievement.