Settings xxiii

The ‘Settings’ sequence presents a chain of backdrops against which personal happenings and dramas were played out. Within the dynamic period preceding Seeing Things when Heaney deliberately swooped on anything that stimulated memory or association (DOD 320),  he allowed himself to be transported back by the poems that ‘came on’ to the sites, moments and emotions of previous experience, from where he weighed up what ‘in time … was extra, unforeseen and free’ (Markings I). Recalling a symposium (Heaney does not tell us when or where) of specialists and literary figures  Heaney recounts an excursion – the poet identifies Danish poet Ivan Malinowski on the same tour whose death in 1989 introduces an short Heaney-style tribute to a kindred spirit. […]