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Derry author Susannah Dickey on poetry and why schools should encourage the medium

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Derry author Susannah Dickey (Credit: James Dickey)

Derry author Susannah Dickey (Credit: James Dickey)

Common Decency by Susannah Dickey is out now

Common Decency by Susannah Dickey is out now

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Derry author Susannah Dickey (Credit: James Dickey)

In Finders Keepers, a book of essays, Seamus Heaney writes about being a schoolboy in Derry, daunted by TS Eliot’s Collected Poems 1909-1962. “That book represented to me my distance from the mystery and my unfittedness — as reader or writer — for the vocation it represented. Over the years I could experience in its presence the onset of a lump in the throat and a tightening of the diaphragm, symptoms which until then had only affected me in maths class.”

It’s strange to think of Heaney (who, believe it or not, went on to become a quite well-known poet) being daunted by Eliot, given that nearly a century later their contributions to 20th-century poetics would be spoken of in similar terms.


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