“He’s not averse to symbolising the process of poetry”

The BBC report on the presentation of the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime’s achievement in literature to Seamus Heaney includes an audio clip of an interview on Radio 4’s Front Row – more Heaney interviews here. The Guardian adds the detail of the two poems Heaney chose to represent his body of work – The Underground and A Drink of Water. There’s the river in the trees.. Meanwhile, John Sutherland asks £40,000? Is that all? Although it should be noted that there was the additional £12,500 Clarissa Luard Award given, at Seamus Heaney’s discretion, to Poetry Aloud!

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  • Alan

    Mr Heaney

    You bored me in the summer sun
    Clabber-strapped and tinker-tied
    Drowsing in the music room.

    You burnt my eyes to navel-guise,
    Weevil-gouged bleak bowls
    In blistered Botanic at Examen Fest.

    You hoisted Gae’s old Bolga up
    And dumped it on my office desk.
    I lost a tooth, it bled like Set.

    And now the expectation is
    I’ll blink to view the bauble laurel?
    Have at ye, sir, but one – blink.

  • Paddy McEvoy

    Good R4 interview Pete. I’m halfway through ‘Stepping Stones’, Denis O’Driscoll’s book of interviews with Heaney. Comes highly recommended.

  • Pete Baker

    “Good R4 interview Pete.”

    Indeed, Paddy.

    I thought it was worth a special mention.

    There are a couple of posts in the Slugger archive on Stepping Stones..

    “If I do write something, Whatever it is, I’ll be writing for myself.”


    “and don’t those terms fairly put the wind up you?”

  • Paddy McEvoy

    Thanks for the links Pete.

  • Rory Carr

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    This poem is proper
    It rhymes, anyhoo.

    …and by composing it I have now proven myself a superior poet to Nobel Laureate, Séamus Heaney – if only in the eyes of Archie Purple.

    Well, a guy’s gotta start small.