In this second edition of his popular book on Heaney, Andrew Murphy charts the trajectory of Heaney's career as a poet and places his work within its various contexts. Seamus Heaney is one of the foremost poets of his generation and his work is highly prized by scholars and general readers alike. It is a measure of his success as a writer, and of the high-esteem in which he is held, that he has been appointed to professorships at both Harvard and Oxford and that he was, in 1995 awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The appeal of Heaney's poetry lies in its gracefulness, its meticulous attention to the sound and structure of language, and the range of topics engaged by the poet - from the precise particularity of the local and the familial to greater political, social and cultural themes. Heaney's poetry is seen within the framework of the Irish poetic tradition and the poet is also located within his crucial social and political context as a writer from the North of Ireland, who seeks a fruitful engagement with the conflicts affecting his homeland. Heaney emerges from this clearly written study as a complex and multi-faceted figure, passionately engaged by poetry and politics alike.