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Seamus Heaney’s biographer races to see poet’s faxes before they fade

15 November 2017

From The Guardian:

A race is on to track down faxes sent by Seamus Heaney before they fade. The outdated technology was the preferred form of communication for the late Nobel laureate and will be a vital source for Fintan O’Toole, who has just been signed up to write an authorised biography of the Irish poet.

“My one terror is that his favourite communication mode was the fax, and faxes fade. So I’m going to have to find out who has faxes from him, and read them quickly. At the end, [Heaney’s publisher] Faber had a fax machine that was kept just for Seamus,” said O’Toole.

. . . .

He added that another challenge would be to avoid portraying him as a saint: “I’ve talked to the family and they don’t want a hagiography – it would be a bad book. Because he had an extraordinary warmth, and was so loved, it distracts from the fact that the poems are actually quite dark. And that didn’t come from nowhere. He was a psychologically complex person. The challenge of the book will be to do justice to the darkness as well.”

Faber & Faber, which will publish the biography, said that a launch date had not yet been scheduled, and that O’Toole would be “engaging in years of original research, interlacing archive, oral and literary work, and correspondence” in its writing.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

PG peeped into his office closet (which is even more creatively arranged than his office proper (or improper)) and discovered that he did, indeed, still have a fax machine. While he doubts the fax machine is worth much, perhaps PG has rare and valuable antiquities he has squirreled away in the closet and forgotten, gaining value as fast as they gather dust.

Non-Fiction, Non-US

2 Comments to “Seamus Heaney’s biographer races to see poet’s faxes before they fade”

  1. Keep the thing, PG – the IRS will only communicate with you that way.

    I ended up having to get an internet faux fax account and number to get information to them, as they kept losing what I mailed in, and from them (they will also mail it to you).

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