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Heaney Seamus
(b. 1939)

Heaney Seamus (b. 1939)

Irish poet, b. Londonderry (now Derry), Northern Ireland. Heaney may be the finest poet writing in English today. 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 attempts to grapple with Irelands bloody past and troubled present. In Station Island (1984), often declared his best sustained work, he tries to come to terms with his own exile, reworking Dante to dramatize a tragic vision of Irish history. Later poems, alternately elegiac and visionary, are included in Seeing Things (1991), The Spirit Level (1996), and Electric Light (2001). Collections of his poetry were published in 1990 (Selected Poems, 19691987) and 1998 (Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 19661996).
Extremely evocative yet clear and direct, balanced between the personal and the topical, Heaneys carefully crafted poetry has been praised for its powerful imagery, meaningful content, musical phrasing, and compelling rhythms. Widely recognized as Irelands greatest poet since William Butler Yeats, 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 is also a skillful translator, his works in this genre including the medieval Irish Sweeney Astray (1984), Sophocless Philoctetes (tr. as The Cure at Troy, 1990) and Antigone (tr. as The Burial at Thebes, 2004), the highly acclaimed Beowulf (2000), and the libretto of Jan´eks song cycle Diary of One Who Vanished (2001). Heaney is also a teacher, at Oxford (198994) and Harvard (1985). His lectures on poetry delivered at Oxford were assembled in The Redress of Poetry (1995).


Irland, 1997, Book of Kavanagh and Heaney manuscript

Irland, 1997, Book of Kavanagh and Heaney manuscript

Irland, 2004, Seamus Heaney

Sweden, 2004, Seamus Heaney

Zambia, 2001, Seamus Heaney

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