LETTER : Putting MacNeice back in the picture

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YOUR contemporary-poets-do-Iceland article "Footsteps in lava and ice", Review (19 February) could not have been more timely in the light of publication of Jon Stallworthy's biography of the Irish poet, Louis MacNeice. However, the caption for the photograph of the original poet-adventurers, MacNeice and WH Auden, failed to recognise one of the guides as being the Irish poet in question and bolsters the myth of MacNeice as Auden's pack-boy!

Glyn Maxwell's reappraisal of Letters from Iceland - a paradigm of literary travelogues - did, I was pleased to note, touch upon the Irish heritage of the Icelanders. Yet he ignores the obvious fascination that the island had for the Irish poet and that his Icelandic experience coloured his undending poetic quest for the "blessed isles".

Ruth Wilkinson

Oxford

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