Seamus Heaney was a poet whose poetry I appreciated more when hearing it read.
This was due to his long, unbroken sentences which often continued for several lines and his Iish vernacular which I had a hard time grasping.
But this is not a criticism. He was a superb poet for several reasons. For one, I have always been leery of poets who look to the natural world for metaphorical devices for their poetic meaning. It is an overdone technique and genuinely awful when done badly.
But in poems like “Blackberry-Picking” and “Death of a Naturalist” Heaney made the connection of meaning with intense imagery densely packed together.
Heaney also knew how to slip in and out of moods. In “Mid-Term Break” The actions he takes to get back in time to his family’s home and assist with his younger brother’s funeral are movement delicately dancing with melancholy and sorrow.
When I taught the IGCSE English syllabus, Heaney’s poems were one of the selected texts. The students found them a little bit difficult but that’s okay....Good poetry can be difficult.
Powerful, evocative verse doesn’t have to be easy.