Troubling Words: Creating Distance in Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Ciaran Carson

Open Access
Belonus, Mary Kathleen
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mark Stewart Morrisson, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Xiaoye You, Honors Advisor
  • english
  • Irish Literature
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Michael Longley
  • Ciaran Carson
  • poetry
  • The Troubles
  • literary analysis
This thesis analyzes selected poems by Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Ciaran Carson, three of the most well-known poets from Northern Ireland. I focus my analysis of this group’s works by looking specifically at each poet’s use of distancing devices in his poetry. Those distancing devices are unique to each poet and influenced by their differing backgrounds in the context of Northern Irish society. When those devices are placed in the larger context of the Northern Irish Troubles through this group’s poetry, they are able to inhabit and critique the violence without feeding into the continued trauma. Instead, each poet uses those literary devices at his disposal to suggest the possibility for a future in the North that is free from sectarian bloodshed.