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).

Bibliography

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 ?
In his essay "Seamus Heaney and the Cultures of Possibility," Michael Cronin writes: "In offering new ways of reading Irish culture, of resituating native practices of mobility and settlement, Heaney's legacy is peerless" (135).
So I wrote to Seamus Heaney, asking him whether he had anything on Larkin, apart from the two published essays I had read.
The Irish Times dedicated five pages of coverage to Seamus Heaney, which led somebody to comment on twitter that a world which still counts the death of a poet as headline news can't be all bad.
He said: "We remember the beauty of Seamus Heaney as a bard and today in particular in his being."
NOBEL poet laureate Seamus Heaney has been remembered as one of Ireland's finest literary minds following his death after a short illness.
Irish poet and playwright Seamus Heaney, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature, is one of the current seven holders of the title, which is held for life.
His friend and fellow poet, Seamus Heaney, and the actress, Juliet Stevenson, will be among those who give readings at the dedication ceremony next month.
Irish poet Seamus Heaney has been presented with the David Cohen Prize for Literature, in honour of his lifetime's work, by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion at a ceremony held at the British Library in London.
Seamus Heaney, Tony Harrison and Carol Ann Duffy are famous and important poets in English Literature.
And Felicia Jean Steele closes this section with a paper on the influence of Tolkien's Beowulf essay, and his subtle shaping of our current cultural conception of dragons, on Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.
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).