Most school and university students will have studied Heaney's work, and many will have heard him speak during his frequent lecture tours and television appearances. More than any other twentieth-century poet, Heaney has brought a mass audience to the arena of serious poetry. In this Icon Readers' Guide, Elmer Andrews explores the critical debates surrounding Heaney's work and popular appeal. Issues of cultural identity and nationality, debates on the power of language and the function of verse are clarified and explored in the writings gathered in this volume. Beginning with consideration of the early collection, Death of a Naturalist, the Guide reviews and contextualises the material on successive volumes (including the most recent publication, The Spirit Level), so that students of Heaney's verse will find an accessible pathway through the most important critical writings on this major poet.