I came to Ireland and got to hear Seamus Heaney speak. I hoped, before I left, that I'd have some opportunity to stay in touch with poetry, but I didn't seriously expect to hear a reading by one of my favorite poets. Last year, at the same time that I was taking a class in contemporary Irish poetry (and reading Heaney's entire collected works), the poetry that I was writing suddenly became more real in some way; I'm pretty sure that the overlapping of these two events was not coincidental. My poetics have changed since then, and I'm sure they'll change again, but in the beginning, Heaney (along with Mahon and Muldoon as well) was a huge factor. So, this night meant something in a big way. I'm actually kind of disappointed that I didn't wait around and try to actually meet the man, but there were so many people there, and if I were in his shoes, I'd probably be fed up with all of the camera flashes and the awed faces (mine included).
During the Q&A, what I wanted to ask--but didn't have the guts to--was if he ever doubted himself as a writer. Getting past my own hang-ups and cliches was, I'm sure, a phase that everyone goes through, but does the self-doubt ever go away? Since I didn't ask him, I suppose now I'll have to wait years before I figure it out, if ever. Let's hope I get another poem out before that day comes!
On another, more terrifying note, a second spider has taken up residence in my apartment. It's bedded down outside my bedroom door. I'm so excited about all my new spider-friends.