From the Frontier of Writing

In the anonymity of Heaney’s ‘From the…’ world, somewhere can be anywhere … except that we recognise a road block mounted by the British Army somewhere in Northern Ireland in the post 1972 period, acknowledge that Heaney is the man behind the wheel of his car and that, similar to the fate of a nation under occupation, this poet’s life and career have undergone humiliating stresses and strains of others’ making. The piece’s first 12 lines adopt a kind of ‘cinéma vérité’ approach – portraying threatening subject matter, exposing an unpleasant reality that so many Irish people suffered at the time, reducing military scrutiny to its basic routine and repressing personal feelings on both sides – survival. Only when the […]