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Heaney Agonistes

[»»] Jeffrey Side: The Dissembling Poet: Seamus Heaney and the Avant-garde

[»»] Rob Stanton: ‘A shy soul fretting and all that ’: Heaney, Prynne and Brands of Uncertainty

[»»] The Group in Belfast, 1960s
(Seamus Heaney: The Early Years)

Letters to the Editor from: [»»] Ira Lightman; [»»] John Muckle; [»»] J.P. Craig; [»»] Jamie McKendrick; [»»] David Latané; [»»] Aidan Semmens; [»»] Ira Lightman (2); [»»] Jamie McKendrick (2); [»»] Ira Lightman (3); [»»] Desmond Swords; [»»] Todd Swift and Jeffrey Side; [»»] Jeffrey Side, reply to Desmond Swords; [»»] Jamie McKendrick (3); [»»] Ira Lightman (4); [»»] Jeffrey Side responds to Ira Lightman; [»»] Jeffrey Side responds to Jamie McKendrick; [»»] From Desmond Swords, 2009-04-07; [»»] From Jamie McKendrick, 2009-04-09; [»»] Jeffrey Side responds to Jamie McKendrick; [»»] Andrew Boobier

To send a letter to the editor, click here: [»»]. I would prefer not to change what is published here; if you have second thoughts, please send a second letter.

From Desmond Swords, 2009-04-07

On Seamus Heaney

Dear Reader/s.

Hi ollamh.

Don’t take it too seriously Jeff my darling.

I’m sorry you feel I personally insulted you. I hope you get better soon. (and thanks for referring to me as a *lunatic* at your britpo village-list HQ prior to my appearing there, and as an *idiot* after I did.)

We could play the game of theoretical ping pong long into the night.

It is interesting that you say I *assume* your jealousy of Heaney stems from some *secret admiration* of him. I did not say I thought you secretly admired him, just that you were jealous.

You open your piece by supposition and invention, asking what Heaney saying the avant garde is an old fashioned term, *really* says about his own poetic. Rather than take the statement at face value, interpreting it as meaning *avant-garde is an old fashioned term*, you indulge in psychological conjecture and conjure up a train of logic based on nought but wishful thinking and waffle to being, a very boring intellectually challenging read, making stuff up which offers the reader no meagre excitement as a piece of text. A picture of what’s inside academic’s head.

However reading Heaney’s work and comparing it with your own, it is clear that at your age, his wordplay is the most avant-garde of the two: if we take avant-garde to mean inventive, memorable, different than what everyone else is doing and arresting for the readers eye.

That is part of the reason he can sell his books to people other than his pals.

That is why he can charge 20 a quid a pop to hear him live, and you we can’t get thirty punters free of charge.

That is why his audience is the English speaking world, and yours is a bunch of kids bored rapt as you blather in class.

You claim not to understand what I mean when I say your piece has a *noticeable absence of gags* — saying “whatever that means".

You do not understand this very simple concept that your piece had *no gags* Jeff,


Now that’s dissembling.

(love you Jeff)

xxx  — latest Dublin poets streamed recordings — read the latest blather.

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