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Subject: Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74

Written By: Philip Eno on 08/30/13 at 7:01 am

Seamus Heaney, acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since WB Yeats, has died aged 74.

Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past".

Over his long career he was awarded numerous prizes and received many honours for his work.

He recently suffered from ill health.

His 2010 poetry collection The Human Chain was written after he suffered a stroke and the central poem, Miracle, was directly inspired by his illness.

Heaney's publisher, Faber, said: "We cannot adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers. His impact on literary culture is immeasurable.

"As his publisher we could not have been prouder to publish his work over nearly 50 years. He was nothing short of an inspiration to the company, and his friendship over many years is a great loss."

Heaney was born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children, on a farm near Toomebridge, County Derry, Northern Ireland, but as a child moved to the village of Bellaghy.

He was educated at St Columb's College, Derry, a Catholic boarding school, and later at Queen's University Belfast, before before training as a teacher. He settled in Dublin, with periods of teaching in the US.

Heaney was an honorary fellow at Trinity College Dublin and, last year, was bestowed with the Seamus Heaney Professorship in Irish Writing at the university, which he described as a great honour.

Heaney's first book, Death of a Naturalist, published in 1966, reflected his rural upbringing, but as Ireland's troubles increased his work took a more political turn.

In 2011, Heaney donated a collection of his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland.

It included manuscripts of his poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks.

The collection spanned Heaney's literary career, from the publication of Death of a Naturalist (1966), to volumes such as Wintering Out (1972) and North (1975), right through to Station Island (1984), Seeing Things (1991) and his most recent publications, District and Circle (2006) and Human Chain (2010).

The latter won the prestigious £10,000 Forward Prize in 2010.

Heaney described the collection, his 12th, as his most personally revealing collection of poems.

He had been nominated for the Forward Prize three times before, but this was his first win. Judge and author Ruth Padel described Heaney's volume as "painful, honest, and delicately weighted".

Over the course of his career, Heaney also won the TS Eliot Prize, and was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Heaney was the professor of poetry at Oxford University between 1989 and 1994.

In an interview with the Today programme's James Naughtie in early 2013, Heaney remembered how he felt when he first discovered poetry.

"It was the voltage of the language, it was entrancing," he said.

"I think the first little jolt I got was reading Gerard Manley Hopkins - I liked other poems... but Hopkins was kind of electric for me - he changed the rules with speech and the whole intensity of the language was there and so on."

Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann.

Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.

Subject: Re: Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 08/31/13 at 12:45 am

Right, my brother posted this on Facebook this morning.  He was a big Seamus Heaney fan.  It's sad to see a great poet die these days, there are so few poets who are held in such esteem in the present era!


Subject: Re: Poet Seamus Heaney dies aged 74

Written By: Philip Eno on 09/02/13 at 8:21 am

Seamus Heaney's final words to his wife were 'do not be afraid', sent in a text message from his hospital bed, mourners at the poet's funeral are told.

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