Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 March 2021
This chapter explores the ways that Seamus Heaney’s critical audiences (in Northern Ireland, the UK and the US) affected his work. As readers were ever more far-flung, local detailing played a smaller role in their appreciation of his work, and this influenced the pitch and texture of Heaney’s poetry. The chapter also considers how the Cold War conditioned the postcolonial reading of his poems, especially in the US. How did these conditions change Heaney’s own approach to his art? How does it change our understanding of it now? At the end of his career, we find poems poised at the edge of the postcolonial epoch, offering brief glimpses of the horizon beyond, that is, of global anglophone poetry.