Widely regarded as the finest poet of his generation, Seamus Heaney is the subject of numerous critical studies; but no book-length portrait has appeared until now. Through his own lively and eloquent reminiscences, "Stepping Stones" retraces the poet's steps from his early works, through to his receipt of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature and ...
Widely regarded as the finest poet of his generation, Seamus Heaney is the subject of numerous critical studies; but no book-length portrait has appeared until now. Through his own lively and eloquent reminiscences, "Stepping Stones" retraces the poet's steps from his early works, through to his receipt of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature and his post-Nobel life. It is supplemented with a large number of photographs, many from the Heaney family album and published here for the first time. In response to firm but subtle questioning from Dennis O'Driscoll, Seamus Heaney sheds a personal light on his work (poems, essays, translations, plays) and on the artistic and ethical challenges he faced, providing an original, diverting and absorbing store of reflections, opinions and recollections.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-12-22 There is no shortage of writing by or about Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Heaney. Yet this big book is a unique and useful addition to the Heaney canon: beginning in 2001, the Dublin-based poet, essayist and anthologist O'Driscoll entered into an extended correspondence with Heaney for the purpose of collaboratively constructing a kind of autobiography-in-interviews. The result is a collection of 16 discreet interviews, the first two of which discuss Heaney's childhood and poetic growth. Then there is one interview-chapter for each of Heaney's celebrated books (except the last two, which are grouped together), followed by a summing up. In conversation, Heaney comes across as extremely friendly, expansively intelligent and in possession of the groundedness in the details of his environment that readers of his poems will be familiar with. Here are boyhood recollections ("Our travelling grocery van... was run first by a man called McCarney, but 'the egg man' was our name for him"), memories of the famous Belfast Group and accounts of coming-of-age, and then coming to international prominence, against the backdrop of Ireland's troubled 20th-century politics. And, of course, Heaney traces the events-both political and personal-that led to many of his poems. For fans of Heaney, of 20th-century Irish literature or anyone eager to get deep into the mind of a major artist, this is an essential book. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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