Monumentalism must carry its own burdens, of course. Yet at the risk of sounding churlish or mad, it has to be said that his new collection, Electric Light, exhibits more of the weaknesses that have been discerned, and fewer of the strengths, than any of his recent collections.
Heaney has always been a gift to the academic community, in that a "career" has been discernible from volume to volume. Critics love narratives of development as much as they love to pick out "major themes". Since Heaney's work has continually commented on itself, and also commented retrospectively on itself in the occasional revision or self-accusation (particularly in the sequence "Station Island"), this has made it easier to buttress the career narrative with quotes from the corpus.
Source: the Guardian
Continue reading: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/apr/07/poetry.tseliotprizeforpoetry2001