“It Can Entrance You For a Moment…”

The Internet is filling up with tears and tributes to the great poet Seamus Heaney, who died yesterday. Here’s a short and sweet one, well worth reading, by novelist Colum McCann.

Many thanks to Linford Detweiler for passing along these words… the wisdom of Seamus Heaney, from an interview in The Paris Review:

I think the poet who didn’t feel the pressure at a politically difficult time would be either stupid or insensitive.

[…]

Debate doesn’t really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope. … People are suddenly gazing at something else and pausing for a moment. And for the duration of that gaze and pause, they are like reflectors of the totality of their own knowledge and/or ignorance. That’s something poetry can do for you, it can entrance you for a moment above the pool of your own consciousness and your own possibilities.

And here are some words about Seamus Heaney from Bono:

Every meeting I’ve ever had since I began full-time advocacy, I have brought with me a book of Seamus Heaney’s poems. I always think if you’re asking somebody for something it’s a good idea to give them something first. So I always gave them Seamus Heaney’s poems.

Some of those phrases are like tattoos for me, worn very close to the heart.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet departed the Patheos network in order to escape click-bait advertisements that were offending him and his readers. He will re-launch Looking Closer at lookingcloser.org soon. He is the author of The Auralia Thread, a four-volume fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors, and a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly. He teaches creative writing and film studies; speaks internationally about art and faith; served as Writer-in-Residence at Covenant College; and is employed by Seattle Pacific University as a project manager, copyeditor, and writer.


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