The Guttural Muse

At first sight Heaney’s title seems light-heartedly appropriate to himself – with his rootsy, gravelly Gaelic articulation of mid-Ulster village names like Broagh the poet would be recognized by many Irish people as their ‘guttural muse’! Heaney has an emotional narrative to grapple with and falls back on his poetry to offset feelings of loneliness, exclusion and middle age. He placed the poem in the same set as ‘The Singer’s House’ and ‘The Harvest Bow’ acknowledging in retrospect ‘a renewed sense of the value of poetry itself as a consolidating element, the writing of which took me to the bottom of something inside myself, something inchoate but troubled … the Troubles, you might say, had muddied the waters but I […]