Nonce Words

Heaney coins expressions to toast a particular moment on an undated drive west during the pre-Christmas period.  At its simplest, the piece urges celebration of being alive, of ’the time being’, the ‘to-be-going-on-with’. In a collection that hints at metaphysical issues, bringing us face to face with ‘Mick Joyce in Heaven’, with the otherworldliness of ‘George Seferis in the Underworld’ and Dantesque references to the underworld tunnels of the London Tube, Nonce Words seats us next to an ageing poet at the wheel of his car overriding mortality concerns to savour the privilege of just being there. Heaney is growing older and he knows it … a senior moment has brought about memory lapse: a missed turning, an alternative route. […]