Book review: Stepping Stones


"I DO have an iBook and enjoy the inspiration of a screen aglow and the immaculate conception of letters."

Apple have surely never had higher praise – or, perhaps, a more distinguished advocate – than Ireland's Nobel Prize-winning poet, Seamus Heaney. But then, it's hard to think of any subject Seamus Heaney doesn't get around to in this voluminous but unflaggingly absorbing book of interviews.

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Or any he doesn't gild with that special linguistic touch of his. It's all here, from Ted Hughes and Gerard Manley Hopkins to Goya, from the Troubles ("poetic justice isn't enough") to "seminar-speak", from friendship and fun to literary responsibility and religion.

The tone is easy, relaxed – even rambling – yet every sentence thrills.