|Photo credit: rte.ie|
Born on a farm in Co. Derry, Northern Ireland in 1939, he was the eldest of nine children in a Catholic family. He embarked on a teaching career which lead him to Queen's University in Belfast as well as Harvard & Oxford. He became most notable however, as a distinguished Poet, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
I'm almost ashamed to say that I was only introduced to Seamus Heaney less than 3 months ago. During my schooling in New Zealand, I remember the likes of W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Patrick Kavanagh, Jonathan Swift, & many others, but there was no Seamus Heaney. Understandable perhaps, given he was in the early years of publishing his poetry at the time. I quell my quilt with the belief that it is better to be introduced to him late than not at all & have Hibernia College, Dublin to thank for familiarizing me with this Literary giant during their recent 8 week Exploring Irish Identity MOOC.
I don't feel I know this brilliant man well enough to carry on here & instead will leave it to another to explain the influence this respected & much loved Irish poet has had on them.
Born in Northern Ireland, Yvonne Watterson identifies strongly with Heaney's Poems & her moving & thoughtful tribute is well worth reading. It can be found on her 'Considering the Lillies' blog & is titled Back to Anahorish ~ Heaney’s "first hill in the world"
Finally, you can listen to Seamus Heaney deliver his 1995 Nobel lecture Crediting Poetry or read the lecture notes which accompany the audio.
His poems have certainly resonated with me & there's no doubt, his 'voice' will leave you feeling nourished. May he Rest in Peace.
Death of a Naturalist
St Kevin & the Blackbird
When All The Others Were Away At Mass
The Road Derry