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Thursday, September 23, 2010

'Famous' writes on! Heaney and the 'Human Chain'

This review is a bit of a back-handed compliment - the reviewer speaks somewhat as if Seamus Heaney is losing his great powers because he is 70. Seventy ain't that old for a poet, you know. This romantic idea of the poet as blazing youth should be put to bed, along with its supporters. Les Murray must be 70 by now, and he's still going strong. Andrew Taylor and Fay Zwicky, among the poets of this town, are still writing poems as good as their best.

'Heaney has become something else: a personification of an idea of poetry, a squint-eyed, white-shocked sage. With one foot still squat in the peat bog and the other crossed comfortably in an endowed university chair, Heaney can speak the language of each place with similar and unrivaled eloquence.'

Have a read of this: It will be interesting to purchase 'Human Chain' and read it. Maybe I'll agree with the reviewer - but somehow I doubt it. We simply gain a different view point as we grow older. Some of this could be seen as a rich vein to be added to our youthful hijinks.

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