The Master

The Sweeney Redevivus poems are fascinating in terms of voicing. In his notes Heaney indicates that they are ‘voiced for Sweeney’ but this does not and cannot exclude the poet’s participation. Each poem resembles a piece of music with a background accompaniment and two voices that pick up the melody in turn or together; the mood of each piece varies as does its ensemble effect on the listener’s ear and the reader’s sensibility. Heaney describes a ‘master-class’. The speaker pays tribute to an anonymous ‘master’ whose opinions are respected and valued and who is a giant against whom to measure himself. Heaney indicated he was reworking the meal at which he first met Czeslaw Milosz in California (note below). Heaney […]