Finding the blend The most successful poets share much in common with the best chefs; the latters’ knowledge of the finest products supplemented by a talent that adds the individual flavours of spices, herbs and sundry ingredients in just the right amounts at just the right moment produces the unique, mouth-watering experiences capable of delighting and inspiring those who savour the result. The ‘knowledge’ is gleaned from experience and requires hard work; the ‘talent’ is a gift granted only to very few. In these respects Heaney is a craftsman pursuing a similar goal. In Wintering Out he is the ‘master-chef’. Whatever the initial stages in the process, the moment a poem ‘comes on’ or ideas with a poetic charge […]