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Notes and study guidance by: M.A SAQIB JANJUA M.A ENG & B.

Ed 0333-5697103

SeamuS Heaney’S ProSe Style
Heaney is a poet, critic and accomplished prose writer. Without any hesitation, he is the most prolific writer of the modern era. He presents his views with great force and rigorous logical style. He is very much clear in his thoughts and this makes his style lucid and charming. He has a great store of knowledge also that makes him clear headed and honest in his opinions. He is a teacher of English literature and a poet himself that has greatly served his prose style. AsWilliam Logom asserts; “Heaney has the most flexible and beautiful lyric voice of our age. And his prose often answers his poetry in a run of subtle and subtly resonant phrasing.” The success of a prose writer depends on the skill,patience and experience of handling language. In this regard, Heaney’s prose style has the precision and consciousness of a mathematician. His vast knowledge, immense reading and spirit to know more also aided him greatly. In “The Redress of Poetry” he follows the scientific outlook and has used exact words with great care. He avoids ambiguities and where he thinks fit clarifies his point further. He uses the words with the greatest possible economy and avoids the meaningless empty talk. So, for Heaneyproper words, in a proper place is true end of his writings. There are certain statements in the text of “The Redress of Poetry” that prove this point. As; “The movement is from delight to wisdom and not vice versa.”
At another point he comments about poetry; “Poetry cannot afford to lose its fundamentally self-delighting Commenting on the significance of poetry he writes;


“I want to profess the surprise of poetry as well as its reliability.” Heaney’s arguments base upon his own thinking as well as views of other great writers. We find views of T.S. Eliot, Havel,and Pinsky,references from Hardy, Herbert, Sydney, Borges, Plato, and Aristotle and so on. No doubt, at one hand this shows Heaney’s learning and reading of the ancient and the modern great writer, at the same time, it also makehis case more forceful and worth pondering. Almost all his writings, including ‘‘The Redress of Poetry’’ bear the high seriousness of his

Notes and study guidance by : M.A SAQIB JANJUA M.A ENG & B.Ed 0333-5697103

the imaginative. rational and to the point.Ed 0333-5697103 . the romantic and the classic expressions. giving his writings a power of analysis. imagination and reality. he compares poetry with both Philosophy and History.” Heaney’s style is just a suitable medium for the expression of his thoughts. There is no beating about the bush. This use of easy and simple language and appropriate words enables him to convey his meanings effectively. he combines the scientific. not the fruit itself. He uses the contradictory terms and the antitheses like the heaven and earth.Notes and study guidance by: M. Poetry for Seamus Heaneyis not a ‘pack of lies’but something that creates nobility in life. To make his argument more forceful he gives Borges’ remarks: “The taste of the apple lies in the contact of the fruit with the palate.A SAQIB JANJUA M. Moreover. graceand guilt. broadmindedness and impersonal attitude and commitment with the purpose give him the title of a ‘Serious Writer’. This all gives Heaney’s prose a kind of vitality hardly found in any other writer of his age . He avoids all literary artificial devicesand writes in an unconscious effortless manner. Hisarguments are lucid. To sum up we can say that Seamus Heaneyis the master of versatile prose style. Heaneyquotes the noble writers whose views are not easy to be ignored and this adds strength to his defense of poetry. This saves his prose from being dull. There is a smooth unobstructed flow in Heaney’s language. His choice of concrete and meaningful words helps him in conveying his sense properly.Ed 0333-5697103 approach. virtue and sin. Notes and study guidance by : M. popular and common and above all the truth and the popular notions.his supreme intellectual outlook. In the same way. Heaney uses a language of comparison which also makes him very popular.A ENG & B. In fact. nor is there heap of unnecessary details. This ability of arguments and the counter arguments establish his reputation as a ‘Classic Prose Analyst’much in the line of Francis Bacon. he has a firm faith in Intuition and the power of nature to light the world. He tries to convey his thoughts and meanings through appropriate language and words and avoids all superfluous and vague expressions. Even the views of the two great philosophers Platoand Aristotle are compared.A SAQIB JANJUA M.A ENG & B. But a strange mixture of romanticism is not absent from his writings. Like the romantics.

reason isdominated by emotions. he says.A ENG & B.Ed 0333-5697103 . since they imitate only appearances. It makes the emotions control uswhen we might have controlled them. as a form of art poetry has been greatly criticized.Ed 0333-5697103 Accusations against Poetry Or Why did Heaneyfeel the need to defend poetry? Over the year. In the emotional poetry. In modern times. like all other imitators. highly biased. Where no one groans. Platoattacked poetry on intellectual. ethical and emotional grounds. The poets with their emotional craziness and lack of moral restraint cannot guide the masses. Another objection usually raised against poetry is its illogical and irrational approach. On the intellectual side. Many have rejected it calling it a ‘foolish form of escapism’ and a ‘pack of lies. Besides it gives encouragement to unworthy emotionsas well. the great Greek philosopher attacked poetry saying: “All poetical imitations are ruinous to the understanding of the hearers. Poetry deals with an‘ideal’ world and the ‘ideal’ value of the things.A SAQIB JANJUA M. Thus poetry can tell us nothing about this world of reality. he is twice away from the truth. poetry feeds those emotions which should be starved. It takes the reader to Notes and study guidance by : M. It is only the reflection or shadow of the ideal world. no one cries for the need of daily utility. it is usually propagated that the poetry is impractical for common people. we will findthat heaps of objections are still there. and unreasonable. When we analyze Plato’s observation with reference to our age.A SAQIB JANJUA M.Notes and study guidance by: M. It can only please the vices and senses of the people by providing them what they like on emotional grounds. the poets have no knowledge of truth. Let us now go through some of the accusations against poetry that forced Heaneyto defend it.A ENG & B. This propaganda against poetry seems to be subjective.” To him every poet is an imitator.’Some are not even ready to accept it a suitable subject to be read and taught. The moral or ethical objection of Platoagainst poetry was the telling of lies. According to Plato. Plato. This attack on poetry is something that has continued over the years and is done even today. The world of the poetry is theworld of escapism. and therefore.

Half asleep and tranquil a reader becomes unfit to face the practical challenges of routine life. The poets use a specialized vocabulary for the composition of poetry. images and dreams. Seamus Heaneyan ardent professor. Great poets like Alexander Pope. These all are the reasons that compelled Platoto banish poets from ‘Republic’. Brown. In The Redress of Poetry. For the political activists what is use of ‘imagining’ an order which is a complete set of events but cannot produce new events.A ENG & B. Hence. poetry becomes a mere juggling of the words whose only pleasure is the ‘diction’ and not the ‘idea’.A ENG & B. critic and a famous poet could not hold a silent tongue and decided to defend poetry. Poets use far-fetched words and images. No doubt. no matter how inventive or original will remain just images to satisfy the aesthetic demands of the readers. bewilder and confuse the reader. confusing the readersinstead of giving them clarity of vision. and Addison etc.Ed 0333-5697103 . it is ‘the mother of lies. Hence. what help would it give practically to the society. It has been said that there are other more fruitful knowledge and a man may better spend his time in them than poetry. It has been called a useless knowledge and a waste of time. Dryden. The poets write in an ornate pompous style which instead of clarifying. This fact diminishes the range and scope of poetry as compared to the other subjects. Heaneymentions the heckler who will want poetry to be more than an imagined response to the conditionsin the world. he has no magicto transfer it in his readers.A SAQIB JANJUA M.’Poetry produces desire in man to indulge in fancy and day dreaming. It neither convinces nor persuades.Ed 0333-5697103 a world of addiction and illusions. have been found culprit of complex and deliberately subtle poetic diction. Being twice removed from reality. If a poet has a soul stirring and mind enlightening experience. instead of solving the problems of the society. Poetry whether it be romantic or classic is based upon theoretical concepts. The process of education and learning in poetry is subjective and might prove a help to the poet not the readers. Notes and study guidance by : M. To conclude we may say that the poetry has been severely criticized. he has done it in a commendable way. Poetry over the years has been criticized for the fault of diction. Even if we accept the ‘ideal’ presented by the poetry and the noble conception of human nature.A SAQIB JANJUA M.Notes and study guidance by: M.

he quotes gives personal views and refers to different poems as well. ristotlewas the great disciple of Platowho tried to show that. its function and its practicality in the real world. OR HOW HAS HEANEYDEFENDED POETRY HIS REDRESSOF POETRY. Thus poetry can tell us nothing about this world of reality.Ed 0333-5697103 . he says. was born in 1939 and awarded the Noble Prize in 1995. These were the controversial remarks about poetry that forced Heaney to defend it. he is twice away from the truth. reason is dominated by emotions. In the emotional poetry. “Poetry was not only pleasant but also useful. for man and society. He presents his views with great force and rigorous logical style. The first poem quoted in his book is George Herbert’s “The Pulley”. In his defense of poetry. the poets have no knowledge of truth.A SAQIB JANJUA M. To him every poet is an imitator.”Aristotle observes that poetry is not concerned so much with what is but with what ought to be. The subject matter of the poem is the importance of eternity. By Redress Heaney means: “Reparation of satisfaction or compensation for. since they imitate only appearances.A ENG & B. The moral or ethical objection of Platoagainst poetry was the telling of lies.Ed 0333-5697103 Heaney’S DeFenCe oF Poetry . and therefore. In “Redress of Poetry” Heaneyhas tried to defend poetry on practical grounds. Seamus Heaney.Notes and study guidance by: M. In “The Redress of Poetry”he has tried to defend poetry as a literary form. It makes the emotions control us when we might have controlled them. as a form of art poetry has been greatly criticized. ethical and emotional grounds. like all other imitators. a wrong sustained or the loss resulting from this.’Plato.A SAQIB JANJUA M. He is the most prolific writer of the modern era. Our earth is a reality of an open Notes and study guidance by : M. On the intellectual side. Many have rejected it calling it a ‘foolish form of escapism’ and a ‘pack of lies. Platoattacked poetry on intellectual.A ENG & B. the great Greek philosopher attacked poetry in hardest possible way. an Irish poet and writer. poetry feeds those emotions which should be starved. According to Plato.”Over the year.

A ENG & B. the journey from ‘actual’ to the ‘ideal’ is beautifully depicted. Goodpoetry is never an immediate reaction to the provided cause. The sensations must be allowed to sink deep in our mind. He agrees that the immediate aim of poetry is to give pleasure but it is not all. but the existence of the nextworld is ‘another’ type of ‘reality’. Heaney wants to tell his readers that though.In this poem. The idea about the life after death can only be given through poetry and not in any other subject.Ed 0333-5697103 . Hence.A SAQIB JANJUA M. Then Heaneygives the reference of “Ode to Nightingale”the famous poem of JOHN KEATS. Actually. Moreover.Notes and study guidance by: M. It takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility.A SAQIB JANJUA M. As Robert Frostgives the message: “Earth’s the right place for Love. Words Worth. poetry travels from delight to knowledge.” Seamus Heaneymoves ahead in his arguments with ‘Classic Clarity’and ‘Romantic Zeal’. a famous poet defends poetry as: “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling. Heaneyfurther tries to raise the status of poetry above philosophy and History. Good poetry involves the interplay of the conscious and unconscious efforts of the poet. with the help of this example. As for as. it is neither simple nor emotionally barren. “Poetry gives moral with pleasure”. In this Ode. the composition of poetry is concerned.Ed 0333-5697103 day light. Before a detailed analysis of his defense of poetry. poetry is a flight of imagination yet its ultimate purpose is to give a moral lesson and to reveal the reality in the best possible way. Notes and study guidance by : M. This is the sixth sense present in the poetry that combines the two realities. the sensations revive and with the unity of elements an expression is formed which is called poetry. The aim of poetry is to represent the particular through the universal. the poet is bewitched by the world of nightingale . Heaneyquotes Robert Pinskyand agrees that it resembles his own notion of theredress of poetry. Philosophy just give advises while history tells the facts. The ultimate end of this pleasure is wisdom.A ENG & B. Herbert Read tries to sum up the process of composition in an accurate way. Pinsky says that a genuine poet never writes in compulsion because he always responds to the call of his heart. In the process of imagination. It guides us how to accept them and livethe life accordingly. W.

” Keats says: .Poet is not a teacher but a preacher. politics and other government policies would narrow the scope of poetry. poetry does not change life.The theme of this poem is that God loves the sinner and man gets closer to God because of his sins.Notes and study guidance by: M. it offers comfort in affliction and tries to perpetuate the happiness. Yeatswho was an Irish and remembers the Irish people killed in 1916 Easter Rising. then it will not remain poetry. war.” In this regard.The function of the poetry and the approach of the poet should be unbiased because a poet is the representative of humanity.A ENG & B. it only tells what way of life is the best.A SAQIB JANJUA M. the breath and finer spirit of all writings. revolution. In text.A ENG & B. Notes and study guidance by : M. It tries to change the mind.B. Seamus Heaneygives the reference of Herbert’smost celebrated poem “The Collar”. So poetry is not weakened by force nor it is misguided by false notions. Words Worthcalled poetry:”the most philosophical of all writings. it will not remain poetry but it would become a kind of propaganda. Heaneypraises W. talking to men not nations or politicians. “what can be the function of poetry in a depressed era? Can poetry play a practical part in our life?” According to Heaney. the use of poetry for practical and social reasons as. it never gives straight facts but inspires people to bring change.A SAQIB JANJUA M. If poetry is used for political purposes and practical necessities. Poetry based on common experience.Ed 0333-5697103 Another charge against poetry is that. Like Aristotle. Heaneysays: “if you want to make poetry practical. In the final stages of his arguments.” Poetry cannot bring political change.Ed 0333-5697103 . This is the reality of human life and presented beautifully by the poet. Hence. But he also talks of the English men who were killed and this grief for humanity had to be responded by poetry. Heaneytoo is of the view: “It is not the function of the poet to relate what has happened but what may happen.