CHIARA MAURINO analyses the representation of the environment in Seamus Heaney’s poems ‘Act of Union’ and ‘The Bog Queen’. The landscape has always been a vital theme in poetry. Artists of all ages have looked to their environment, be it natural or social, as inspiration for their works. But all too quickly we tend to associate natural imagery with romanticism, and with the sublime, the spiritual and the healing. We forget, perhaps, how the natural environment tells a story of its own, how it combines and couples with history to give its inhabitants a sense of national identity. Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney portrays the Irish landscape as a victim and an aggressor in his poems, thus exploring the connections between history, violence and the natural environment. Conforming to ancient Irish poetic traditions, Heaney creates an unbreakable bond between women and nature, which critics have taken to be a reference…Continue Reading

Violent landscapes: poetry and identity

OLIVIA WARD JACKSON reviews The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre. Those dark juices working Him to a saint's kept body, Trove of the turfcutters' Honeycombed workings.                                                       ['The Tollund Man' by Seamus Heaney] It may seem strange to begin a review of Jez Butterworth’s soulful play, The Ferryman, with Seamus Heaney’s intimate description of the preservation of a human corpse in an Irish bog. In fact, The Ferryman itself begins in this way, and the essence of Heaney’s poetry underlies the whole story. The Tollund Man is submerged in a bog; a liminal space, between life and death, between body and spirit. Similarly, Butterworth presents Northern Ireland as a place suspended between peace and war, between old and new, from which it cannot escape due to the…Continue Reading

The Ferryman