“Heaney is braced but not bound by the Yeatsian heritage, difficult as that is to approach and assimilate, and in this he differs from many lesser poets.”

    —Neil Corcoran, “Heaney and Yeats,” 175.

“Yeats has never been an inhibiting father to Heaney, but an enabling elder brother.”

    —Michael Cavanagh, Professing Poetry: Seamus Heaney’s Poetics, 232.

In 1987, Derek Walcott told David Montenegro that “Seamus Heaney … could have … danced away conspicuously, with great levitation and skill, from the haunting shadow of Yeats . . . . But he knew that gradual absorption would lead to his own voice . . . . Seamus uses a language now that is . . . passing into a language of understanding, of exchange...

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