I’ve been reading Seamus Heaney’s Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996 (1999), and simultaneously reading Dennis O’Driscoll’s Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney (2010). This wasn’t actually planned, but both books had been sitting on my shelf and it seemed to make sense to read them together.
What is particularly helpful is that O’Driscoll has arranged the interviews to cover some introductory subjects and then each one of Heaney’s collections, and Heaney’s volume pulls selected poems from the volumes through 1996. So I can read the poems and then read the interview covering the volume the poem’s appeared in.
The interviews occurred over a period of years. Most were done by letter and email. Two were actually broadcast programs taped and later transcribed. All of them describe what influenced Heaney, how he put the collections together, and what all of this work came to mean over time.
To continue reading, please see my post today at TweetspeakPoetry.