Labour Day: An Introduction

Seamus Heaney died in a Dublin hospital only hours before the writing of this note.

“You are neither here nor there,” Heaney once wrote, “a hurry through which known and strange things pass.”

I’m thinking now of Woody Guthrie who also died in a hospital. That was in Queens the same year Frank O’Hara was struck and killed by a dune buggy on Fire Island, New York State. O’Hara wrote a famous elegy remembering the day Billie Holiday died from liver failure. Terry Sawchuk, who was not a poet but a hockey player, also died of liver failure. Sawchuk’s death was a result of what he called “horseplay.” Horseplay, my friends, can kill you.

I once read a Seamus Heaney poem at a funeral. I’m hardly the only one. Wallace Stevens said that poetry was a “violence within protecting us from a violence without.” That is pure Stevens.

Poetry, Heaney paraphrased, is “the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality.” Evie Christie and Michael Johnson are doing the pressing this time.
A nine to five man who has seen poetry, Heaney once described another ghost.

We press on.

Matt Rader is a Contributing Editor of Forget.

Published On: September 2, 2013
Permanent Location:

Volume 7, Issue 4
  Labour Day, 2013


Forget Magazine

In The Past
Evie Christie

Four PoEMS
Michael Johnson

Feb 12, 2001 - Present

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