Making Strange

A further symptom of the poet in transition: when the New world meets the Old things collide. When professional development brings change the voice of poetry must move on. The speaker is at the interface of old and new as if separating irreconcilables: I stood between them. The living symbol of Heaney’s new world possesses a sophisticated travelled intelligence, combining tawny leather-accessorised prosperity and self-assured containment. He is articulate and precise: his speech like the twang of a bowstring. The emblem of the old Irish world is not ‘the’ other, but another, one of many, perhaps, self-neglecting and a touch backward: unshorn and bewildered. This one stands in rubber boots that sag with age: the tubs of his wellingtons. The […]