Author: Jytte Holmqvist, HBU-UCLan School of Media, Communication & Creative Industries
Published: January 31, 2023
Citation: Holmqvist, J. (2023). Strength through Poetry as We Regain Our Balance in the COVID-19 Aftermath: Literary Insights from Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney Read from a Naturalist and Existentialist Perspective. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijcs.7.2.01
Drawing on Seamus Heaney and his symbolic reference to a great sea change or tidal wave in epic poem “The Cure at Troy” (1990) – much referred to in these gradually post-pandemic times and indicating that a new chapter is about to begin – and “The City” by Ted Hughes, where a life is read like a poem and in the many depths of the urban space the writer roams “my own darkness”, this paper looks at human resilience in the face of an interrupted COVID reality that has brought a fundamental shift to the way we view the world and our role in society. In our era of a New Normal, the idea that “less is more” is quickly becoming a mantra for our times, a time characterised by a gradual distancing from material hype while we turn to nature for solace and guidance – as importantly advocated by Heaney and Hughes who illuminate our path as we gain a greater understanding of what really matters at the core. We likewise begin to see commonalities between people and cultures, and we open up a space for a greater sense of authenticity. As we are now stepping into the initial stages of 2023, entering a new chapter; have we gained existential insights from the COVID-19 pandemic and will this lead to new beginnings where the written word helps us along the way?
COVID-19 pandemic, culture, nature, poetry, Seamus Heaney, symbolism, Ted Hughes