6 Exposure

Exposure  is deliberately placed as the collection’s coda for reasons of emphasis, impact and confessional self-revelation. Heaney takes stock of changes to his personal circumstances, his role and function as poet and public voice, the immediate world around him and current events. The poem is all about whether he has stepped up to the mark or fallen short. In conversation with Henri Cole in Harvard University’s Paris review no 75. Heaney explained the emotional build-up expressed in his closing poem:  … leaving the north didn’t break my heart. The solitude was salubrious. Anxiety, after all, can coexist with determination. The anxiety in a poem like “Exposure” is about whether the work that comes out of this move is going to […]