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Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney Paperback – 6 Aug 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571242537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571242535
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for "Stepping Stones""" “This really is a remarkable book. There isn’t a dull, vapid or useless sentence in it; it’s about what it is to be human, as much as it is about what it is to be a poet.” ―Nicholas Lezard, "The Guardian"“["Stepping Stones"] is a Heaney word horde that will not be surpassed for some time . . . [It] will be seized on by students of the work as well as the common reader . . . [Heaney] is intensely present within these pages―still surprising, still defying ‘the merciless landscapes’ with generosity, courage and joy.” ―Bel Mooney, "The Times "(London)“[An] important book-length interview, designed to serve in lieu of a memoir . . . Dennis O’Driscoll [is] an excellent poet and critic, and a deeply informed and probing interviewer of his longtime friend.” ―Adam Kirsch, "The New Republic"“"Stepping Stones "succeeds on many levels, and O’Driscoll

Book Description

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney, edited by Dennis O'Driscoll, is a unique insight into the life and mind of the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet.

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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By KaleHawkwood TOP 100 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover
More biographies should be like this.
But where would you find such an equable, articulate, fluent subject as Seamus Heaney, who spent what must have been many hours talking to the late Dennis O`Driscoll, about poetry, people, places, and - luckily for us - more poetry.
Over 500 generous, packed pages, prompted by his intelligent interrogator, Heaney talks like the most literate companion you could, in your wildest dreams, wish for.
As can be discerned in TV interviews with the Nobel laureate, his gentle and compassionate nature never compromises a rigorous, fair-minded, fiercely eloquent artist, whether in prose or poetry.
You could happily quote from any page anywhere in this remarkable book, and you`d find gold. Heaney doesn`t just have `a way with words` he seems to freshly mint each word he says, while sounding utterly natural, pearls flowing from his amply stocked mind like pure water from a deep well.
This book acts as a kind of (auto)biography of the Northern Irish poet - his home life, both as a child then with his devoted wife Marie, as well as his friendships and collaborations with more fellow poets than you can shake a stick at, some of whom, such as Milosz or Hughes, live in these pages more vividly and truthfully than in many a conventional biography. Heaney`s balanced and informed views on other poets make for stimulating reading, for example his only slightly qualified praise for the great American poet Wallace Stevens, or his unqualified love of Robert Frost, who (unsurprisingly) has been a life-long inspiration.
If you have the remotest interest in poetry, poets, why, what and how they write, then you really should read this literally marvellous book. I sometimes pick it up and spend an hour - invariably becoming two - contentedly browsing its pages, knowing I`m in the safest of literary hands. Heaney is a poet to his fingertips, and a man who can talk like a dream.
Essential.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been reading this to help with my dissertation on Heaney's poetry and I have found it a really useful resource for learning about Heaney's careers, childhood and poetry.

He generously answers a wealth of questions on his political views, family life, poetry and his experiences with other writers.

If you need to learn more about Heaney's poetry or are just interested in the man himself, then this is a good book to support your reading of his collections.
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Format: Hardcover
If I had to use one word to sum up what I learned about Seamus Heaney from reading the excellent Stepping Stones it would be: grounded. Heaney is a serious man writing serious work and in this collection of questions and responses with Dennis O'Driscoll it is apparent he doesn't take himself too seriously. It is full of insights into the man and his work- how does he keep performing at the top of his game? Heaney says it is simply a matter of "Getting started, keeping going, getting started again".
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Heaney's passing over, which is what all good Celts do rather than dying in the ordfinary way, leaves us with a treasure house of work from a great yet humble mind. This collection of interviews with Dennis O'Driscoll helps to fill that personal gap between the reader of the work of a fine poet and the meeting with the man himself which few of us could achieve in his lifetime. It's also great stuff for an amateur poet to have in hand. We should all write some poetry.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. Seamus Heaney is everything we hoped a poet or artist would be - wise, unpretentious, generous, observant. It may seem a long book at first glance, but it's full of wonderful comments about poetry and life. Well worth reading.
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This book gives great insight into the mind and life of such a great poet. It's very readable and mostly fascinating to hear these personal interviews with Heaney. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent non-autobiogarphy. Set up as a long interview it reveals Heaney in all his intellectual glory. From descriptions of his couch at home,to his thoughts on poets from Bishop to Rich, as well as allusions to politics and the creative impulse, this is a must have for anyone interested in poetry.
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This unique and different interview style bio is a survey of Heaney's life, O'Driscoll uses Heaney's poems as reference points, to give a biographical context of those poems in a poetry based account of Heaney' s life .
The interviews take place over a period upto 2008, from a perspective of Heaney's late sixties and aims, and succeeds , in being a stock-taking rather than a summing up.
As Heaney pointed out in his Nobel prize giving speech , his poetic journey was one' where each point of arrival turned out to be a stepping stone rather than a destination' and further confirmed by Heaney's observation that some of his poems (eg The Guttural Muse)'took him to the bottom of himself, something inchoate.. but enabledv him arrive at a older , deeper, cleaner spring.'
The late Dennis O'Driscoll , being a notable Irish poet ,essayist and critic himself, is the perfect biographer for such an acknowledged 'poetic great'.
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