Bellaghy – Heaney’s home and the subject of his work – was only 10 miles from Cookstown. “I knew it. I would drive through Moy, the venue of many of Paul Muldoon’s poems, every Saturday on the way to visit my granny. The fact that these places were being made strange by poetry was very exciting. That ability to look at something again, to open up a space of second thoughts, is so important to Northern Ireland, where all of your instincts have been trained by politicians and churches to go in a particular direction. Poetry seemed a way of clearing all that away. You suddenly realised there were other ways of approaching certain questions.

Nick Laird (Guardian)

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