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" Anyone born and bred in Northern Ireland can't be too optimistic. "
" A public expectation, it has to be said, not of poetry as such but of political positions variously approvable by mutually disapproving groups. "
" The kind of poet who founds and reconstitutes values is somebody like Yeats or Whitman - these are public value-founders. "
" I always believed that whatever had to be written would somehow get itself written. "
" In the United States, in poetry workshops, it's now quite a thing to make graduate students learn poems by heart. "
" Dylan Thomas is now as much a case history as a chapter in the history of poetry. "
" I've been in the habit of helping people. "
" I always had a superstitious fear of setting up a too well-designed writing place and then finding that the writing had absconded. "
" My language and my sensibility are yearning to admit a kind of religious or transcendent dimension. But then there's the reality: there's no Heaven, no afterlife of the sort we were promised, and no personal God. "
" Poems that come swiftly are usually the ones that you keep. "
" The day I entered St Columb's College, my parents bought me a Conway Stewart pen. It was a special afternoon, of course. We were going to be parting that evening; they were aware of it, I was aware of it, nothing much was said about it. "
" In fact, in lyric poetry, truthfulness becomes recognizable as a ring of truth within the medium itself. "
" In poetry, everything can be faked but the intensity of utterance. "
" In a way, Anglo-Saxon poetry cannot be translated. "
" Eternal life can mean utter reverence for life itself. "
" Poetry is more a threshold than a path. "
" The faking of feelings is a sin against the imagination. "
" The Heaneys were aristocrats, in the sense that they took for granted a code of behavior that was given and unspoken. Argumentation, persuasion, speech itself, for God's sake, just seemed otiose and superfluous to them. "
" I've nothing against the Queen personally. I had lunch at the Palace once upon a time. "
" I came from a farming background, and my career was teaching. "
" It is very true to say that work done by writers is quite often an attempt to give solid expression to that which is bothering them... They feel they have got it right if they express the stress. "
" I credit poetry for making this space-walk possible. "
" There's never going to be a united Ireland, you know. "
" The poet is on the side of undeceiving the world. "
" I think the first little jolt I got was reading Gerard Manley Hopkins - I liked other poems... but Hopkins was kind of electric for me - he changed the rules with speech, and the whole intensity of the language was there and so on. "
" My experience is that prose usually equals duty - last minute, overdue-deadline stuff or a panic lecture to be written. "
" Anybody serious about poetry knows how hard it is to achieve anything worthwhile in it. "
" I think of Dermot Healy as the heir to Patrick Kavanagh. "
" I've always associated the moment of writing with a moment of lift, of joy, of unexpected reward. "
" My father and mother had no sense of entitlement for their children. "
" The problem as you get older... is that you become more self-aware. At the same time, you have to surprise yourself. There's no way of arranging the surprise, so it is tricky. "