Any full-length critical work on Seamus Heaney’s poetry indispensably or pertinently touches on his bog poems incorporated in Heaney’s first four poetry collections. Composed mostly in quatrains, these poems actually represent the essential Heaney and subsequently suffice to fathom his distinctive poetics in the Irish-English literary tradition. The first of these poems constitute Heaney’s archaeological discourse on the metaphorical grandeur of Ireland for its temporal and spatial features of bog while the later ones which raised Heaney to a greater prominence define his aesthetic and political stance during the Irish Troubles. In fact, Heaney’s bog poems have become windows into his oeuvre including his prose works too. This paper claims that the bog poems alone constitute Heaney’s distinctive poetics per se and make him perpetually relevant in literary studies. The corollary of this paper comes to the point that understanding the essential Heaney is grounded in the bog poems.
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