Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939 – August 29, 2013); Irish poet born in Northern Ireland, called the greatest Irish poet since Yeats, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995,and greatly lauded for his 1999 translation of Beowulf. If you’d like to read some of his poetry, or perhaps, even better, hear him read his own work, check out ibiblio’s Internet Poetry Archive.
Below is an excerpt from ibiblio’s home page, explaining how Heaney’s poetry and voice came to be on their site.
We were lucky and privileged in the course of Seamus Heaney’s live to have crossed paths with him several times. First when he agreed to be part of an early experiment in putting poetry on the WWW by not only granting us the use of some of his poems, but he agreed to record his readings of those poems himself with the help of Harvard’s Poetry Room in the 1994. Heaney had not yet won the Nobel Prize at that point. That would come the next year when his work was cited “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.
Certainly the poems he chose for the Internet Poetry Archive are exemplars of that sense of beauty, depth and exaltation.
No, there is no connection between Seamus Heaney and the Valley, beyond our shared humanity, and love of words. For tonight, that’s enough.