Navigating the ‘Station Island’ Collection

Contents Foreword followed by: Main Sources; the Structure of Station Island; biographical ‘events’ between 1976-1984; the collection and its moment; Heaney’s ‘book of changes’; ‘hampering stuff’; Catholic beginnings; loss of faith; breaking loose; the political dimension; ‘Troubles’ timeline; poetry and politics: retaining a neutral voice; reconciling the clash between politics and poetry; the redemptive power of Art; Irishness;   the Poems individual commentaries with footnotes and reflections on style and structure Part 1: the stirrings of change; The Underground La Toilette Sloe Gin Away from it All Chekhov on Sakhalin Sandstone Keepsake Shelf Life A Migration Last Look Remembering Malibu Making Strange The Birthplace Changes An Ulster Twilight A Bat on the Road A Hazel Stick for Catherine Ann A […]


  Station Island, published by Faber and Faber in 1984, is Seamus Heaney’s seventh collection. Heaney is in his mid-forties. The totality of his collections over more than half a century since Death of a Naturalist (1966) have confirmed his place at the very top of the premier league of poets writing in English. The textual commentaries that follow seek to tease out what Heaney’s poems are intimating in Station Island. Of course, the poet’s ‘message’ will have started life as an essentially personal one not intended primarily for his reader; there are moments when some serious unravelling is required. Thanks to the depth of Heaney’s knowledge, scholarship and the sincerity of his personal feelings, his poetry is rich in […]


  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 myriad 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 the very few. In these respects Heaney is a craftsman pursuing a similar goal. In Station Island he is the ‘master-chef’. A number of poems in the collection offer insights into the poetic process as Heaney experiences it. Whatever the initial […]