8DE New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 2000
HEANEY. SEAMUS HEANEY. CAN YOU 'DIG' IT?
Luck of the Irish shines on
with appearance ofpoet Heaney
Lee Ground," came from this first poem of
s Writr his first collection, continuing the
cl Prize-winning poet and Har-
%vgi rof. Seamus Heaney packed in a
c o for a much-anticipated poetry
r d,1g at Rackham Auditorium this
pgtNovember. More than 1,000 mem-
l1sof the University community lined
tEl .es and flowed out into the lobby,
d ring the reading with concerns
e Ann Arbor Fire Marshal and
Igirment of Public Safety officials.
Ance members waited patiently, -
bg books of Heaney's poetry
oefficials gave permission for
t e ing to begin.
: interview prior to the read-
i aney said, "You stand up in S
fl'"- a strange audience and just
hetat the transition of whatever
i ' rd can reach out. You hope
t audience can hear and listen -
i ome one ear."
udience did just that, pausing
a icipating Heaney's every word.
Heaney's voice tingled with a melodi-
ous §erenity, his Irish accent lingering
over what seemed to be low whisper-
ings of a story just beginning to be told.
-Heaney started by reading his poem
"Digging," which he said he "feels safe
Avith since it's clear and easy to take."
At the reading, he went on to tell the
audience that the title for his most
recent collection of poetry, "Opened
metaphor of poetry as "digging."
When asked for tips for student
poets, Heaney said, "I think in order to
write, you have to have some kind of
excitement, whether big or small,
something that starts words moving for-
ward. For me that always involves some
kind of memory. You trip over some-
thing in your memory." Heaney also
added that going through the challenges
of writing in different forms, such as
"Don't do anything that
rfoes against your sixth
- Seamus Heane
Nobel Prize-winning poet and Harvard pro
sonnets, is also crucial to giving voice
to that "intimate personal energy."
"My own experience was to be awak-
ened by others," Heaney said, noting
Gerard Manley Hopkins and Patrick
Kavanagh as his major influences.
"Don't do anything that goes against
your sixth sense," Heaney said, stating
how people should try to follow their
own compass and retain innocence in
the writing process. "There is always a
possibility for failure in creative work
... but that always brings a sense of a
beginning, of frailty and hope. It's about
stumbling towards a beginning."
Heaney was awarded the Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1995. He said
that he is skeptical about the numer-
ous comparisons between himself and
William Butler Yeats, who earned the
award in 1923 and was the last Irish
poet to do so.
"Yeats did not influence me in the way
I wrote," Heaney said. "But I came to be
in awe of the dimensions of his achieve-
ments as a reader," he said, noting the
universality of Yeats' words.
Throughout the reading - some-
thing Heaney regards as a "pleasur-
able experience rather than
pedagogy" - Heaney humorously
and modestly related many personal
ey experiences to the audience in
f. explaining his poems.
- "Poems come from your life, as
well as what you read," Heaney
said, noting how poets like Robert
Frost influenced him. "The echo
from what has been known already,"
Heaney said, is what drives poetry
At the reading, Heaney also spoke
of the conflicts of solidarity and the
line between the "observed" and the
"imagined," the public and the pri-
vate, relating not only to the politics
of Ireland but to the human condi-
tion as a whole.
Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney reads several of his more famous works at Rackham Auditorium.
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Continued from Page 6
Rubin intimated that you don't say no
to Steven Spielberg. Ultimately, other
writers were brought in on the project.
Raised in Detroit, Rubin moved
away from the city as soon as he fin-
ished high school. His arrival on cam-
pus is "a long story." The short
version: Rubin later met New Line
Cinema founder and president Robert
Shaye (who, a native Detroiter himself,
attended the same high school as
Rubin although at a different time)
while curating a film series in New
York. They've kept in contact over the
years, and Shaye, who recently award-
ed a substantial monetary gift to the
Program in Film and Video Studies,
encouraged Rubin to bring one of his
films to campus and offer screenwrit-
ing seminars and lectures.
During his time at the U niversitv.
Rubin discussed "The Writer's Jour-
ney" of his own trip from Detroit to
Hollywood, "Writing the Metaphys-
ical Screenplay" with a discussion
of the process of bringing "Jacob's
Ladder" into being, "The Creative
Process" and a free public screening
of "Jacob's Ladder" at the Michigan
Theater, followed by a question and
Originally set to bring "Ghost" to
campus, Rubin requested that he show
"Jacob's Ladder" instead. "Everybody's
seen 'Ghost,'" he said. In showingz
"Jacob's Ladder," Rubin feels he can
introduce a generation of students to a
work they likely are unfamiliar with.
Rubin said that he doesn't plan at
this time to direct another film. "I dis-
covered (with "My Life") that just
because you're a writer doesn't mean
you should direct," he said. "I'm not
bad. But I'm not great."
His next project will be a screen-
play for New Line. If his previous
work is any indication, it should be
well worth the wait.
Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin talks
with Film & Video screenwriting
students and faculty during one of his
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