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 Seamus Heaney

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Seamus Heaney

  • Birth 13 Apr 1939 Castledawson, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • Death 30 Aug 2013 Sandymount, County Dublin, Ireland
  • Burial Bellaghy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • Plot Old Section, Plot 126A
  • Memorial ID 116281839

Irish Poet, Nobel Prize Winner. He is widely recognized as one of the major poets of the 20th century. Born the first of nine children, his father was a farmer and raised cattle. In 1957 he studied English Language and Literature at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. During his time in Belfast, he found a copy of Ted Hughes's "Lupercal," which inspired him to write poetry. In 1961 he graduated with a First Class Honors degree and began writing and publishing his poetry the following year. In 1963 he became a lecturer at St Joseph's Teacher's raining College in Belfast and after contributing various articles to local magazines, he came to the attention of Philip Hobsbaum, then an English lecturer at Queen's University, and who was to establish a Belfast Group of local poets like he had done in London, England. In November 1965 his first book, "Eleven Poems," was published for the Queen's University Festival and the following year he published his first major volume, "Death of a Naturalist," which received critical acclaim and went on to win several awards, the Gregory Award for Young Writers and the Geoffrey Faber Prize. The same year he was appointed as a lecturer in Modern English Literature at Queen's University. In 1969, his second major volume, "Door into the Dark," was published. After a spell as guest lecturer at the University of California in Berkeley, California, he returned to Queen's University in 1971. In 1972 he left his lectureship at Belfast and moved to Dublin, Republic of Ireland, working as a teacher at Carysfort College. The same year, his work, "Wintering Out" was published, and over the next few years he gave readings throughout Ireland, Great Britain and the US. In 1975 he published his fourth volume called "North," followed by his collection of poetry "Stations," for which he received the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1976 he became Head of English at Carysfort. His next volume, "Field Work," was published in 1979 followed by "Selected Poems 1965-1975" and "Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978" which were published in 1980. When Aosdana, the national Irish Arts Council, was established in 1981, he was among those elected into its first group (he was subsequently elected a Saoi, one of its five elders and its highest honor, in 1997). In 1981 he left Carysfort to become visiting professor at Harvard University at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was affiliated with Adams House. In 1982 he was awarded two honorary doctorates, from Queen's University and from Fordham University in New York City, New York. From 1985 to 1997 he was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University (formerly Visiting Professor) and from 1998 to 2006 the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence at Harvard. In 1989 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University at Oxford, England, which he held for a five-year term until 1994. In 1996 he was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and admitted the following year. In 2000 he was awarded an honorary doctorate and delivered the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in 2002 he received an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. In 2003 the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry was opened at Queen's University Belfast, where it houses the Heaney Media Archive, a record of his entire oeuvre, along with a full catalogue of his radio and television presentations. That same year, he, decided to lodge a substantial portion of his literary archive at Emory University near Atlanta, Georgia, as a memorial to the work of William M. Chace, the university's recently retired president. The Emory papers represented the largest repository of his work (1964 to 2003), donated to build their large existing archive from Irish writers including William Butler Yeats, Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Michael Longley and other members of The Belfast Group. In 2010 he published "Human Chain," his twelfth collection, for which he was awarded the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. He died at the age of 74, following a short illness. Upon his death, his books comprised of two-thirds of the sales of living poets in the United Kingdom. Among his other honors and awards include the Eric Gregory Award (1966), Cholmondeley Award (1967), the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968), the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1996), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), the Irish PEN Award (2005), the T. S. Eliot Prize (2006, for "District and Circle"), the Poetry Now Award (2007, for "District and Circle"), the David Cohen Prize (2009), the Poetry Now Award (2011, for "Human Chain") the Griffin Poetry Prize (2011, finalist for "Human Chain"), the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award (2011) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 for "The Spirit Level" and 1999 for "Beowulf: A New Translation"). In 2012 he was awarded the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry. His personal literary papers are held by the National Library of Ireland.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: John
  • Added: 30 Aug 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 116281839
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Seamus Heaney (13 Apr 1939–30 Aug 2013), Find A Grave Memorial no. 116281839, citing Bellaghy Cemetery, Bellaghy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland ; Maintained by Find A Grave .