Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 March 2021
This chapter looks at nine nouns in Heaney poems, and considers how each shoulders the weight of narrative or meaning in its poem. The chosen nouns are scoop, bucket, lorries (two), car, bicycle, rope and two individual doors. The chapter examines Heaney’s own exhortation in ‘Oysters’, ‘Verb, pure verb’, putting the physical objects and their too-solid nouns at the centre of a close reading of eight poems, including ‘Sunlight’, ‘A Constable Calls’, ‘Súgán’ and ‘Postscript’. The chapter argues that nouns provide a kind of touchstone reality in the poems and are emblems and artefacts of the idea of belonging, deployed to service the relationship between the physical (often domestic) world and the human experience of it.
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