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" Yeats was 18th-century oratory, almost. "
" Anybody serious about poetry knows how hard it is to achieve anything worthwhile in it. "
" You can have Irish identity in the north and also have your Irish passport. "
" One doesn't want one's identity coerced. "
" I always believed that whatever had to be written would somehow get itself written. "
" At home in Ireland, there's a habit of avoidance, an ironical attitude towards the authority figure. "
" I always had a superstitious fear of setting up a too well-designed writing place and then finding that the writing had absconded. "
" I don't do as many readings as I used to. There was a time when I was on the road a lot more, at home in Ireland, in Britain, in Canada and the States, a time when I had more stamina and appetite for it. "
" It's difficult to learn poems off by heart that don't rhyme. "
" I came from a farming background, and my career was teaching. "
" I think childhood is, generally speaking, a preparation for disappointment. "
" We go to poetry, we go to literature in general, to be forwarded within ourselves. "
" My passport's green. "
" I'm not personally obsessed with death. At a certain age, the light that you live in is inhabited by the shades - it 'tis. "
" There's never going to be a united Ireland, you know. "
" The experiment of poetry, as far as I am concerned, happens when the poem carries you beyond where you could have reasonably expected to go. "
" My father was a creature of the archaic world, really. He would have been entirely at home in a Gaelic hill-fort. His side of the family, and the houses I associate with his side of the family, belonged to a traditional rural Ireland. "
" 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 been in the habit of helping people. "
" I think that water is immediately interesting. It's just, as an element, it is full of life. It is associated with origin; it is bright - it reflects you. "
" When I first encountered the name of the city of Stockholm, I little thought that I would ever visit it, never mind end up being welcomed to it as a guest of the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Foundation. "
" Your temperament is what you write with, but it's also how you deal with the world. "
" Without needing to be theoretically instructed, consciousness quickly realizes that it is the site of variously contending discourses. "
" But that citizen's perception was also at one with the truth in recognizing that the very brutality of the means by which the IRA were pursuing change was destructive of the trust upon which new possibilities would have to be based. "
" In Northern Ireland, helicopters are not usually used to promote poetry. "
" I suppose you could say my father's world was Thomas Hardy and my mother's D.H. Lawrence. "
" I suppose you inevitably fall into habits of expression. "
" Poetry is what we do to break bread with the dead. "
" The completely solitary self: that's where poetry comes from, and it gets isolated by crisis, and those crises are often very intimate also. "
" In poetry, everything can be faked but the intensity of utterance. "
" I believe we are put here to improve civilisation. "