Seamus Heaney

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Heaney, Seamus

(Seamus Justin Heaney) (shā`məs, hē`nē), 1939–2013, Irish poet, one of the finest contemporary English poets, b. Londonderry (now Derry), Northern Ireland, grad. Queen's Univ., Belfast (B.A., 1961). In his early works, such as Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door into the Dark (1969), Heaney is a lyrical nature poet, writing with limpid simplicity about the disappearing world of unspoiled rural Ireland. He moved from Belfast to the Irish Republic in 1972, ultimately settling in Dublin. In works such as North (1975), Field Work (1979), and The Haw Lantern (1987), Heaney attempted to grapple with Ireland's bloody past and troubled present. In Station Island (1984), often declared his best sustained work, he tried to come to terms with his own exile, reworking DanteDante Alighieri
, 1265–1321, Italian poet, b. Florence. Dante was the author of the Divine Comedy, one of the greatest of literary classics. Life
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 to dramatize a tragic vision of Irish history. Later poems, alternately elegiac and visionary and filled with a love for the common objects of the world, are included in Seeing Things (1991), The Spirit Level (1996), Electric Light (2001), District and Circle (2006), and Human Chain (2010), which reflects on death, memory, and other preoccupations of old age.

Extremely evocative yet clear and direct, balanced between the personal and the topical, Heaney's carefully crafted poetry has been praised for its powerful imagery, dense yet nuanced language, meaningful content, musical phrasing, and compelling rhythms. Widely recognized as Ireland's greatest poet since William Butler YeatsYeats, W. B.
(William Butler Yeats), 1865–1939, Irish poet and playwright, b. Dublin. The greatest lyric poet Ireland has produced and one of the major figures of 20th-century literature, Yeats was the acknowledged leader of the Irish literary renaissance.
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, Heaney was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. Many of his critical, biographical, and autobiographical essays were collected in Preoccupations (1980), The Government of the Tongue (1989), and Finders Keepers (2002). He was also a skillful translator; his works in this genre include the medieval Irish Sweeney Astray (1984), Sophocles's Philoctetes (tr. as The Cure at Troy, 1990) and Antigone (tr. as The Burial at Thebes, 2004), the highly acclaimed Beowulf (2000), the libretto of Janáček's song cycle Diary of One Who Vanished (2001), and the posthumously published Book VI of Vergil's Aeneid (2016). Heaney was also a teacher, at Oxford (1989–94) and Harvard (1985–2006); his Oxford lectures on poetry are in The Redress of Poetry (1995).


See studies by R. Buttel (1975), T. Curtis (1982, repr. 2001), B. Morrison (1982), H. Hart (1992), M. Parker (1993), J. W. Foster (1995), R. F. Garratt, ed. (1995), C. Molloy and P. Carey, ed. (1996), M. Allen, ed. (1997), E. Andrews, ed. (1992 and 1998), H. Vendler (1998), H. Bloom, ed. (2003), F. Collins (2003), and A. B. Crowder and J. D. Hall, ed. (2007); B. O'Donoghue, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney (2009).

References in periodicals archive ?
So I wrote to Seamus Heaney, asking him whether he had anything on Larkin, apart from the two published essays I had read.
I was first introduced to Seamus Heaney as an editor, not a poet.
In my opinion, the poetry of Seamus Heaney can be grouped into three categories in terms of dealing with the past.
Seamus Heaney returns to some of the agrarian themes--the "age of bare hands/and cast iron"--of his first collection, Death of a Naturalist (1966).
The one interview Falsani longed to do, with poet Seamus Heaney, never happened.
This article analyses the embedding of translation and adaptation of Greek poetry and drama in the new work of two writers from Northern Ireland, Michael Longley and Seamus Heaney, who are associated with different traditions within Irish cultural politics.
Seamus Heaney, Nelson McCausland, myself and, as one reader put it, that 'ginger mincer', (that'll be Julian, then) have all got a mention.
Seamus Heaney noted the problematic issue of Irish identity in a 1974 review of P.
As expected, publishers are rushing out titles, including some excellent ones like ``Electric Light'' (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $13) by the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and ``Joseph Brodsky: Collected Poems in English'' (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $30 cloth, $18 paper), works from the Russian Nobel Prize winner.
EVEN BEFORE Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize (1995) and then delivered a bestselling translation of Beowulf(1999), he was for Irish, American, and English readers the most admired and lovable of poets.
Seamus Heaney is one of the United Kingdom's most respected poets and Beowulf stands as one of the greatest epic poems in English literature.
Digging," "The Grauballe Man," part XIII from "Station Island" and other excerpts from Selected Poems, 1966-1987 by Seamus Heaney.