Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'Human Chain' by Seamus Heaney and 'Stepping Stones' by Dennis O'Driscoll

Human Chain

by Seamus Heaney

Faber and Faber, $29.99 hb, 96 pp, 9780571269228

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney

by Dennis O’Driscoll

Faber and Faber, $24.99 pb, 535 pp, 9780571242535

Auden wrote of the mature Herman Melville that he ‘sailed into an extraordinary mildness’. The same sort of thing could be found in Seamus Heaney, even though he has always written with a degree of calm, with hospitable decorum. It was this level-headedness that enabled him to write about sectarian violence in the magisterial Station Island poems (1984). Now we have a mild chain before us, rather than a sacred island.

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Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry. His most recent books of verse include The Universe Looks Down (2005), and Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw (2008). He is Professor Emeritus in Culture and Communication at Melbourne University. Also a public speaker and commentator on the visual arts, he specialises in ‘artists’ books’. Read It Again, a volume of critical essays, was published in 2005. Among other awards he has won the Dublin Prize for Arts and Sciences and the Christopher Brennan Award for Literature. His latest book is Rondo (2018).

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