Seamus Heaney - Fosterage For Michael McLaverty - Poetry Analysis

5 Fosterage

Fosterage For Michael McLaverty Heaney recounts a brief encounter thirteen years earlier with one of Ireland’s finest writers; he selects a quotation from Wallace Stevens in support of his acknowledgement that McLaverty had much to teach him, a modest ‘rookie’ still searching for his poetic voice. A quotation, a time and a place pinpointing a meeting with a benefactor etched on Heaney’s memory. He was 23 and newly cubbed in language. He particularly recalls McLaverty’s intensity when he gripped/ My elbow. McLaverty’s assertive advice is akin to that of the Viking counsellor in North: Go your own way./ Do your own work. Quoting from world literature, McLaverty urges Heaney to be emotive, to sound that note of exile in his work but without giving himself blood-pressure: to hell with overstating it:/ Don’t have the veins bulging in your biro.’ The empathy that the old poet felt for Gerard Manley Hopkins’ […read more….]