The Real Names

Heaney’s substantial ten-part sequence traces the twin development of his journey into Shakespeare and his journey into poetry. It ranges back and to in time and location. The ‘real names’ are the authentic individuals who were at school with Heaney and as members of St Columb’s Dramatic Society played the Shakespearean characters of annual school productions. The Shakespeare texts were set in stone, the lives of the young actors, including Heaney’s, anything but. In her review of Electric Light (Irish Times of  Mar 24, 2001,) under the heading ‘Heaney the survivor’,  Helen Vendler offers her own insights into the poet’s use of sequences:  ‘Exploring the mystery of the self has been a steady concern in Heaney’s work, but while the […]