HENRI COLE: What would Mozartian poetry be?

SEAMUS HEANEY: It would have all of the usual life in it. But it would have great formal acceleration. I recently read Christopher Marlowe’s “Hero and Leander” and got this terrific lift from it because of the way it was rejoicing in its own resources as an invention. It gave you a music that was trampolining off itself, glamorous and delicious and self-conscious. There was genuine sweetness and swank in the writing, but underneath all that banner-flying beauty and merriment, there was terrific veteran knowledge. Real awareness of hurt and vindictiveness and violence. And there was wiliness. I thought it was astonishingly mature poetry to have been written by a young man. The poem has a Prospero awareness of all the penalties but it still retains an Ariel ability to keep itself sweet and lively.

For more of the Paris Review Interview click HERE

 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Image via Declan Goulding