“where the night snows stars and the earth creaks”

Great PoetsSinéad at Sigla Blog noted the start of the Guardian’s series on Great Poets but I thought I’d wait until they were available online. And they almost all are – We’ve already had TS Eliot, WH Auden, Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes [one of my favourites], and today Seamus Heaney. Siegfried Sassoon is the last one with tomorrow’s paper. [Adds Now also online] Nick Wroe introduces the seven-part series here. The booklets are a bonus, as was the audio CD in the weekend paper – you can find some of those recordings at The Poetry Archive. Last words, for now, from John Banville’s introduction to the Heaney booklet

Heaney’s commitment to life beyond the study door is unusual for a poet, and all the more admirable for that. What he would have us hearken to most closely is not the song the verse-maker spins inside his own head, but the common world’s melody, “the music of what happens”, as he writes in the poem Song. At the close of his Nobel address he spoke of “poetry’s power to do the thing which always is and always will be to poetry’s credit”: “the power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it, the power to remind us that we are hunters and gatherers of values, that our very solitudes and distresses are creditable, in so far as they, too, are an earnest of our veritable human being.”