The Place of Writing in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh

Irene Gilsenan Nordin


This article addresses the theme of place in the poetry of W. B. Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh, focusing on the concept of place as a physical and psychological entity. The article explores place as a creative force in the work of these two poets, in relation to the act of writing. Seamus Heaney, in his essay “The Sense of Place,” talks about the “history of our sensibilities” that looks to the stable element of the land for continuity: “We are dwellers, we are namers, we are lovers, we make homes and search for our histories” (Heaney 1980: 148-9). Thus, in a physical sense, place is understood as a site in which identity is located and defined, but in a metaphysical sense, place is also an imaginative space that maps the landscapes of the mind. This article compares the different ways in which Yeats and Kavanagh relate to their place of writing, physically and artistically, where place is understood as a physical lived space, and as a liberating site for an exploration of poetic voice, where the poet creates his own country of the mind.


place; space; history; poetic voice; home; writing; Yeats; Kavanagh; Heaney

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