Seamus Heaney: The Making of the Poet


”Whatever poetic success I’ve had”, says Heaney, “has come from staying within the realm of my own imaginative country and my own voice”. It’s the culturally specific one-ness of that country and voice that Parker examines in this superb study. There are skilful and illuminating readings of individual poems, but, above all, this is a work of contextual criticism…It makes rewarding reading for anyone interested in Heaney, poetry or Ireland.’- Phil Baker, Sunday Times

‘As a study of the living poet, Michael Parker’s book is exemplary in its intimacy and tact. Not only are the words of a sentient well-read critic alive on every page, but so too are those of Seamus Heaney’s poetry and personality.’ – Douglas Dunn, University of St Andrews

‘ I don’t see how a more thoroughly researched and informative book could have been written on Heaney. The connections between the poet’s life and work are explored with tact: and the political events running concurrently are set forth in such a way as to link, at every stage, the public and the private backgrounds of the poems. Michael Parker’s scrupulous study should be of immense value to teachers, students, and admirers new and old of Heaney’s work’ – Anne Stevenson

‘Parker’s book is the culmination of what the studies on Heaney have been to date, a chronological survey with a marked biographical is hard to see his book being surpassed in its kind…(it exhibits) author-based criticism’s strengths in abundance. The fifty-five pages of detailed notes are an invaluable commentary providing answers to most queries that might arise in reading…From now on any reading of Heaney will be enhanced by having Parker’s book at your elbow’ – Bernard O’Donoghue, Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal

‘Michael Parker has done American readers a great service with his efficient, interpretive biography… a volume of this sort is absolutely essential for a writer of Heaney’s stature.’ – Sidney Burris, The Southern Review