A critical reading of a classic Heaney poem
‘Digging’ appeared in Seamus Heaney’s first collection, Death of a Naturalist, in 1966. Like a number of the sonnets by Tony Harrison – who was born two years before Heaney – ‘Digging’ is about a poet-son’s relationship with his father and the sense that the working-class son, by choosing the vocation of the poet (but then who chooses it? It chooses them, we might say), is adopting a path very different from his father’s, and his father’s before him. You can read ‘Digging’ here; in this post we offer our analysis of the poem’s meaning, language, and effects.
In summary, ‘Digging’ sees Heaney reflecting on his father, who used to dig potato drills (shallow furrows in fields, into which the potato seeds can be planted) but now struggles to dig flowerbeds in his garden. The poet’s grandfather, he recollects, used…
View original post 508 more words