Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney Paperback – 6 Aug 2009
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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
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For a Heaney aficionado a must read. It gives the Poet's and the writers views and thoughts of times ,events and happenings as well as particular insights, not found elsewhere.Published 10 months ago by wjc roberts
O'Driscoll's gentle inquisitive style of interviewing allows Heaney's voice and personality to shine through. A wonderfully informative and engaging read.Published 10 months ago by marg
Humbling to be taken so close to Heaney's own thoughts and feelings in the formation of his character and his discipleship to the craft of poetry.Published 15 months ago by David
A fascinating compilation of discussions between two outstanding men of lettersPublished 19 months ago by sydh