Seamus Heaney - Letter In Response To Heaney

HL Leaving Cert 2003

Dear Seamus Heaney…

Write a letter to Seamus Heaney telling him how you responded to some of your poems on your course. Support the points you make by detailed reference to the poems you choose to write about.

Dear Seamus Heaney,

I am writing to you to let you know what a wonderful experience I had studying your poems. I found the language to be every day and engaging, and felt that the powerfully detailed imagery really brought them to life. I think the way you write about your memories in such detail and with such clear emotion is incredibly compelling, and this is most effective when it comes to the striking love poetry you have written. The poems that I found most compelling were the love poems, whether it was a poem to a lover, your aunt, or to the Irish landscape.

I have noticed that your poetry often focuses on nature and childhood memories. Your poem “Sunlight” was a wonderful description of a treasured memory from your childhood, which detailed your emotions as you stood in the yard and watched your aunt bake scones for you. In my opinion, this poem is woven with the love you had for your aunt, and the love she held for you, something made all the more clear by the fact that “Sunlight” is dedicated to Mary Heaney. This love is conveyed very well through the language of the poem, which also serves as a mechanism to draw the reader into the poem. The poem is set in the past tense, with the last three stanzas suddenly shifting into the present. Personally, this made me feel as though I had suddenly stepped into the memory, and really showed me how vivid the images from your past are to you. Memory plays a very strong role in all your poetry – likewise, in “The Skunk” and in “Postscript” you explore important memories. In this poem, the language used in the slow, detailed description of your aunt baking portrays the love and attachment in your relationship. Mary Heaney is described in favourable language in this poem. The term “broad-lapped” sho...

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