Poetry born of historical upheaval bears witness both to actual historical events and considerations of poetics. Under the duress of history the poet, who is torn between lamentation and celebration, seeks to achieve distance from his troubled times. Add to this a deep love for and commitment to the Irish and English poetic traditions, and a strong desire to search for models outside his culture, and you have the poetry of the Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney (1939-).
In this study, Carmen Bugan looks at how the poetry of Seamus Heaney, born of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, has encountered the ‘historically-tested imaginations’ of Czeslaw Milosz, Joseph Brodsky, Osip Mandelstam, and Zbigniew Herbert, as he aimed to fulfil a Horatian poetics, a poetry meant to both instruct and delight its readers.
Carmen Bugan is the author of a collection of poems, Crossing the Carpathians, and a memoir, Burying the Typewriter. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford.
‘This book is a marvellous accumulation of insights and openings into Heaney’s work in the context of his affinities with the four East European poets with whom he shares an acute awareness that history is ‘the mother of culture’, as Brodsky put it in a comment on Herbert. In the minutiae of her study she has provided Heaney students with a valuable resource that will be challenging to surpass.’ — Gerry Smyth, Modern Poetry in Translation 2013 no. 3, October 2013, 106-11
‘Though many critics have mentioned their influence, Carmen Bugan’s monograph is the first to offer a detailed, in-depth study of Heaney’s relationship with East European poets... This is a very good book, a massively and precisely documented scholarly study, written by someone who has a consummate knowledge of her subject.’ — Adolphe Haberer, The European English Messenger 22.2, 2013, 82-85
‘A well-documented and insightful study of one of the few aspects of Seamus Heaney’s work that still needs attention. As Irish studies are becoming increasingly comparative and intercultural, this is a very welcome addition to the academic discussion on Seamus Heaney’s work and on Irish literature in general.’ — Florence Impens, Irish Studies Review 2014
‘Bugan's book demonstrates just how productive cultural exchange between poets East and West can be. She shows how Heaney borrows the concept of exile - a Cold War topos par excellence - and successfully recasts it in the Irish context, imbuing his work with an ethical complexity and self-awareness that continues to resonate with readers from all corners of the globe.’ — Connor Doak, Slavic and East European Journal 58.2, Summer 2014, 166-67
‘A densely researched and lucid study of a poetic congeniality that Heaney experienced with four East European poets... Published in the year that saw the death of this most influential of contemporary poets, it represents a fitting tribute to Heaney’s relational poetics.’ — Rui Carvalho Homem, Translation and Literature 23.3, 2014, 412-16
Bugan, Carmen, Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013)
First footnote reference:35 Carmen Bugan, Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013), p. 21.