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Guilty Knowledge, Guilty PleasureThe Dirty Art of Poetry$
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William Logan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166867

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166867.001.0001

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Heaney’s Ghosts

Heaney’s Ghosts

(p.135) Heaney’s Ghosts
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure

William Logan

Columbia University Press

This chapter reviews Dennis O'Driscoll's Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney. The interviews, which took place mostly on pen and paper, over the course of six years, provide a tour of Heaney's childhood and poetic career. Heaney has been called the finest Irish poet since Yeats—with the not-so-sly implication that he's not as good as Yeats. The book underscores how much a poet like Heaney is used by his past to make its claim, but perhaps no book can explain the indelible mystery of his work. The secret can't be found in interviews, because they are the wrong place to look. In the end, this interminable inquisition does what it should—it sends you back to the poetry, the poetry of a man who has lived in the rectitude of language and the doubts of the tongue.

Keywords:   Seamus Heaney, poets, poetry, interviews, Dennis O'Driscoll, review

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