Seamus Heaney - Stern - Poetry Analysis


Stern   Dedicated to the memory of Ted Hughes, the piece is concerned with poets: their differing backgrounds and cultures, the respect felt, the reverence generated, the tributes due. Heaney has posed a question to Hughes about meeting T.S. Eliot. Heaney quotes Hughes’ actual response (confirmed via Dennis O’Donnells Stepping Stones, p.406): like standing on a quay/ Watching the prow of the Queen Mary/ Come towards you, very slowly). A welter of ideas and images is conjured up: a top-of-the-range Blue Riband ship (fastest across the Atlantic) for a Blue Riband poet, metaphor for the rich American poet who moved to Europe and settled in London; a massively calm and collected five-star presence; a phenomenon with unstoppable momentum. All in all Eliot’s name and reputation have left the younger poet in respectful awe. North-country earthiness when Heaney comes to appraise Hughes: quay is replaced by pierhead, as rough and ready, […read more….]