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Poetry & Responsibility$
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Neil Corcoran

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380352

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380352.001.0001

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date: 18 October 2017

Question Me Again

Question Me Again

Reflections on W. B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney

Chapter:
(p.75) Chapter 5 Question Me Again
Source:
Poetry & Responsibility
Author(s):

Neil Corcoran

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781380352.003.0006

This chapter examines what is probably the most significant relationship in modern Irish poetry. It offers an account of Heaney's prose writings on Yeats, which are extensive, in which he takes Yeats as in some ways ‘exemplary’ for a later poet but in which he also has to come to terms with the towering nature of Yeats's work and reputation, which, it would appear, must seem to some degree oppressive for any later Irish poet. The chapter then turns to an extended close reading of Heaney's poem ‘Casualty’ in the light of Yeats. A poem addressing the circumstances of Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, it adapts a verse form with strong Yeatsian associations to its own very different purposes; and it also inherits Yeats's own ways of treating Irish political violence in the 1920s. The chapter situates its own reading of Heaney and Yeats in the contexts of the extensive modern critical debate about forms of poetic influence and intertextuality, and makes its own intervention.

Keywords:   Yeats, Heaney, 'Casualty'

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