For the poetry unit, I decided to study the works of the renowned Irish poet, critic, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, Seamus Heaney. I choose Heaney because he is rather contemporary author, most of his works published in the mid to late twentieth century, and his poems were simple yet beautiful. The voice that he uses to spin his tales is fundamentally human. In my opinion, Heaney does not put on fronts of human perfection, but chooses to focus on the simple joys that life provides. This can be seen in many of his poems such as “Lover of Aran”, in which he gives human characteristics to the beach and the sea to exemplify human love and compassion, as well as in “Personal Helicon”, where he harps on the beauty and simplicity of his childhood. He also wrote darker pieces such as “Act of Union” and “Docker”. “Act of Union” is appropriately named after the document that brought all of England’s conquests under the crown of Great Britain. The poem ...view middle of the document...
I used this technique to capture the reader’s attention and draw them into the poem, much like a good story should. Heaney does this masterfully in all of his poems, varying between first and third person point of view depending on what level of connectivity he wants the reader to feel with the subject of the poem.
In addition to narrative structure, I used personification to emulate Heaney’s style. He uses personification in a large number of his poems, including, “Lovers of Aran” and “Docker”. “Lovers of Aran” lines 4-5 states, “Or did Aran rush/ to throw wide arms of rock around the tide…” The use of personification implies the relationship between the land and the sea, as if they were lovers. In line for of “Docker”, Heaney writes, “Speech is clamped in the lips’ vice.” Personification is use here as a means of characterization, showing the docker is a man of few words. In my piece, I used personification to create the image of the potter, whose hands were “Spitefully burned by kilns too hot and cruelly marked by tools too sharp” (Stanza 1, line 3). I also used personification to draw a reaction of the reader with the line, “…And the sharp whispers from his carving tool…” (Stanza 6, line 20). I wanted the reader to feel the hostility and the malice behind the sharp edge of the tool used to create beautiful artwork.
Another important element to my work was the title. Though the title of the poem may seem simplistic, I followed in Heaney’s footsteps and named my poem after the subject. The Potter of this poem is supposed to represent human intellect; his hands and tools representing words and judgment. The clay represents each individual person. The poem was meant to convey that humans are molded by the words and opinions of others, and are easily scarred and destroyed by negative opinions. Though this theme is darker than the ones Heaney usually conveyed, I believe that the voice that it is told in is largely similar to his works.
Ultimately, this work was one of the easiest ones for me to write once I understood who Heaney was as a person and as writer. I believe that “The Potter” is by far one of my best poems yet. I did have a bit of trouble when it came to analyzing my own poetry, but I, as the author understood what I wanted to convey and how I wished to convey my message.