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The influence of Seamus Heaney's upbringing on his work. He spent his childhood on his parents' farm in County Derry. It inspired much of his poetry and instilled a sense of the traditional rural past in Ireland. Heaney reads an excerpt from his poem 'Digging' (1966), which is about the physical labour his father undertook working the land. It is dramatised with black and white shots of old-fashioned farmhands.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
8 April 2004

Classroom Ideas

Can be used to focus students on Heaney’s use of form, language and structure. They can listen and watch in order to answer a series of guided questions: how does he feel about the events described and why did he write a poem about it? How do the film-makers pick out a narrative structure in the poem (eg where do the shots change) and why? They then pick out words or phrases that they could illustrate in a more dramatic presentation of the poem before exploring the meanings and associations those poetic images could carry.

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