My Wonderful Book of Poetry Vol. III
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He straightened up To drink it, then fell to right away Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods Over his shoulder, going down and down For the good turf. The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge Through living roots awaken in my head. But I've no spade to follow men like them. Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I'll dig with it. While there, he found a copy of Ted Hughes 's Lupercal, which spurred him to write poetry. Hillan describes how McLaverty was like a foster father to the younger Belfast poet.
In , Heaney became a lecturer at St Joseph's, and in the spring of , after contributing various articles to local magazines, he came to the attention of Philip Hobsbaum , then an English lecturer at Queen's University. Hobsbaum set up a Belfast Group of local young poets to mirror the success he had with the London group , and Heaney was able to meet other Belfast poets such as Derek Mahon and Michael Longley.
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Also a writer, Devlin published Over Nine Waves , a collection of traditional Irish myths and legends. In , Faber and Faber published Death of a Naturalist , his first major volume. This collection was met with much critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Gregory Award for Young Writers and the Geoffrey Faber Prize. That year his first son, Michael, was born. A second son, Christopher, was born in That year Heaney and Michael Longley undertook a reading tour called Room to Rhyme , which increased awareness of the poet's work.
In he published his second major volume, Door into the Dark. After a spell as guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley , Heaney returned in to Queen's University. In , Heaney left his lectureship at Belfast, moved to Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland, and began writing on a full-time basis. In the same year, he published Wintering Out.
In , Heaney published his fourth volume, North. He became Head of English at Carysfort College in Dublin in , and he moved with his family to Sandymount in that city. His next volume, Field Work , was published in Selected Poems and Preoccupations: Selected Prose — were published in He was subsequently elected a Saoi , one of its five elders and its highest honour, in Also in , Heaney traveled to the United States as a visiting professor at Harvard, where he was affiliated with Adams House.
At the Fordham commencement ceremony on 23 May , Heaney delivered his address as a stanza poem entitled "Verses for a Fordham Commencement. Heaney joined the company's expanded Board of Directors in His father, Patrick, died in October the same year. He wanted to "celebrate United Nations Day and the work of Amnesty".
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In , Heaney was elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford , which he held for a five-year term to The chair does not require residence in Oxford. Throughout this period, he was dividing his time between Ireland and the United States. He also continued to give public readings. So well attended and keenly anticipated were these events that those who queued for tickets with such enthusiasm were sometimes dubbed "Heaneyboppers", suggesting an almost teenybopper fan base. In , The Cure at Troy , his play based on Sophocles 's Philoctetes ,  was published to much acclaim.
The next year, he published another volume of poetry, Seeing Things That same year, he was awarded the Dickinson College Arts Award and returned to the Pennsylvania college to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree. He was scheduled to return to Dickinson again to receive the Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Award—for a major literary figure—at the time of his death in Irish poet Paul Muldoon was named recipient of the award that year, partly in recognition of the close connection between the two poets.
Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in for what the Nobel committee described as "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past". Neither journalists nor his own children could reach him until he arrived at Dublin Airport two days later, although an Irish television camera traced him to Kalamata. Asked how he felt to have his name added to the Irish Nobel pantheon of W. Yeats , George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett , Heaney responded: "It's like being a little foothill at the bottom of a mountain range.
You hope you just live up to it. It's extraordinary. Heaney was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in and was admitted in In , Heaney was awarded an honorary doctorate and delivered the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania. It houses the Heaney Media Archive, a record of Heaney's entire oeuvre, along with a full catalogue of his radio and television presentations.
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Chace, the university's recently retired president. In , when asked if there was any figure in popular culture who aroused interest in poetry and lyrics, Heaney praised American rap artist Eminem from Detroit, saying, "He has created a sense of what is possible. He has sent a voltage around a generation. He has done this not just through his subversive attitude but also his verbal energy. He read the poem at a ceremony for the 25 leaders of the enlarged European Union , arranged by the Irish EU presidency.
In August , Heaney suffered a stroke. Although he recovered and joked, "Blessed are the pacemakers" when fitted with a heart monitor,  he cancelled all public engagements for several months. Among his visitors was former President Bill Clinton. Heaney's District and Circle won the T.
He spoke at the West Belfast Festival in celebration of his mentor, the poet and novelist Michael McLaverty , who had helped Heaney to first publish his poetry. In , Faber published Human Chain , Heaney's twelfth collection. Human Chain was awarded the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection, one of the major poetry prizes Heaney had never previously won, despite having been twice shortlisted. Poet and Forward judge Ruth Padel described the work as "a collection of painful, honest and delicately weighted poems Heaney was named one of "Britain's top intellectuals" by The Observer in , though the newspaper later published a correction acknowledging that "several individuals who would not claim to be British" had been featured, of which Heaney was one.
In December , he donated his personal literary notes to the National Library of Ireland.
Heaney was compiling a collection of his work in anticipation of Selected Poems — at the time of his death. Though the exhibit's original vision to celebrate Heaney's life and work remains at the forefront, there is a small section commemorating his death and its influence.
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Seamus Heaney died in the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin on 30 August , aged 74, following a short illness. His funeral was held in Donnybrook , Dublin, on the morning of 2 September , and he was buried in the evening at his home village of Bellaghy , in the same graveyard as his parents, young brother, and other family members. Many tributes were paid to Heaney. President Michael D. Higgins said:. Generations of Irish people will have been familiar with Seamus' poems. Scholars all over the world will have gained from the depth of the critical essays, and so many rights organisations will want to thank him for all the solidarity he gave to the struggles within the republic of conscience.
Bill Clinton , former President of the United States, said:. Both his stunning work and his life were a gift to the world. His mind, heart, and his uniquely Irish gift for language made him our finest poet of the rhythms of ordinary lives and a powerful voice for peace His wonderful work, like that of his fellow Irish Nobel Prize winners Shaw, Yeats, and Beckett, will be a lasting gift for all the world.
I am greatly saddened today to learn of the death of Seamus Heaney, one of the great European poets of our lifetime.
The strength, beauty and character of his words will endure for generations to come and were rightly recognised with the Nobel Prize for Literature. We are fortunate and proud to have counted Seamus Heaney as a revered member of the Harvard family. For us, as for people around the world, he epitomised the poet as a wellspring of humane insight and artful imagination, subtle wisdom and shining grace. We will remember him with deep affection and admiration. Everywhere I go there is real shock at this. Seamus was one of us. Yeats and Philip Larkin ", W.
At one time, Heaney's books made up two-thirds of the sales of living poets in the UK. Speaking of his early life and education, he commented, "I learned that my local County Derry experience, which I had considered archaic and irrelevant to 'the modern world', was to be trusted.
They taught me that trust and helped me to articulate it. In a number of volumes, beginning with Door into the Dark and Wintering Out , Heaney also spent a significant amount of time writing on the northern Irish bog. Particularly of note is the collection of bog body poems in North , featuring mangled bodies preserved in the bog.
In a review by Ciaran Carson, he said that the bog poems made Heaney into "the laureate of violence—a mythmaker, an anthropologist of ritual killing Allusions to sectarian difference, widespread in Northern Ireland through his lifetime, can be found in his poems. Yet he has also shown signs of deeply resenting this role, defending the right of poets to be private and apolitical, and questioning the extent to which poetry, however "committed", can influence the course of history.
Shaun O'Connell in the New Boston Review notes that "those who see Seamus Heaney as a symbol of hope in a troubled land are not, of course, wrong to do so, though they may be missing much of the undercutting complexities of his poetry, the backwash of ironies which make him as bleak as he is bright. Again and again Heaney pulls back from political purposes; despite its emblems of savagery, Station Island lends no rhetorical comfort to Republicanism.
Politic about politics, Station Island is less about a united Ireland than about a poet seeking religious and aesthetic unity. Heaney is described by critic Terry Eagleton as "an enlightened cosmopolitan liberal",  refusing to be drawn. Eagleton suggests: "When the political is introduced His collections often recall the assassinations of his family members and close friends, lynchings and bombings.
His refusal to sum up or offer meaning is part of his tact. Heaney published "Requiem for the Croppies ", a poem that commemorates the Irish rebels of , on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. He read the poem to both Catholic and Protestant audiences in Ireland. It was silence-breaking rather than rabble-rousing. You just have to permit it. Although he was born in Northern Ireland, his response to being included in the British anthology was delivered in his poem "An Open Letter":. Don't be surprised if I demur, for, be advised My passport's green.