Seamus Heaney talks about his collection of poems 'Station Island'.
Seamus Heaney explains why he does not find the need to declare his political allegiance, although he does gravitate towards Irish history. The imagining of a destiny or a place to which one belongs is what is more important.
The imagined country, is after all, what politics are about.
The majority of politicians deal with images, and there is a formidable relationship between poetry and politics, but,
Poetry is more powerful in the end.
The book of poems ‘Station Island’, consists of three separate parts. Seamus Heaney reads ‘The Underground’ a lyric poem written in memory of South Kensington Tube station the poet and his wife Marie passed through while on honeymoon, and also remembers Orpheus and Eurydice at the end, in the underground.
There we were in the vaulted tunnel running,
You in your going-away coat speeding ahead
And me, me then like a fleet god gaining
Upon you before you turned to a reed...
The title section of the book, ‘Station Island’ is inspired by several pilgrimages made by Seamus Heaney to Saint Patrick’s Purgatory on Lough Derg, County Donegal.
Over the course of the sequence of poems, which the poet describes as a kind of examination of conscience, he is visited by ghosts from the past who engage him in dialogue. As he explains,
They represent parts of oneself.
This episode of ‘Folio’ was broadcast on 6 November 1984. The presenter is Patrick Gallagher.