"Station Island" is a series of 12 poems in the second section of the book. It follows Dante's meeting with different shades in The Divine Comedy. Heaney himself claims to be deeply influenced by Dante, and it is a Dante through TS Eliot. Although unlike TS Eliot who increasingly become religious in his work (partly due to what Dante claimed in the Divine Comedy that writing needs a transcendence and it must come from god), Heaney rejects religion as a form of transcendence.
The book must be taken as a whole and as a whole, Heaney wishes, for the first time in his career, to shake off his past literary influences and Irish writers such as James Joyce (who wrote Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), Patrick Kavanagh, and William Caleton. It is also the first time that he wishes to explain his political apathy despite his success as a poet through remarkable poems like Chekhov on Sakhalin, section VIII of "Station Island". The poems are incisive and unapologetic, like the shade of James Joyce telling Heaney to "Let go, Let fly."
However, after rejecting religion, politics and his literary past in the sequence of poems, Heaney cannot provide an answer what and why he is writing for because:
"There a drinking deer
at a dried-up source."
The deer of poetry has met a drought of a pool of dried-up ink. If only he could provide a kind of transcendence then this book would have been perfect.