Seamus Heaney as a "Christian" Poet

John F. Desmond

To what extent can Seamus Heaney be called a "Christian" poet? Against those who argue that Heaney's later poems evoke Christian motifs only as a residue of his cultural and literary heritage, John Desmond argues that Heaney's work inscribes the struggles of a poet journeying toward a higher degree of spiritual individuation. Poems like "Lightenings" and "St. Kevin and the Blackbird" show the poet probing religious mysteries as part of this poetic journey, especially the forces of love and grace that link the imagined ideal to the actual world. Mr. Desmond is Mary A. Denny Professor of Literature at Whitman College.

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Last Updated: October 6, 2001
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