Remembering Seamus Heaney

Posted on Saturday, August 31, 2013 by fillups

Poet Seamus Heaney

The fact that the Irish poet Seamus Heaney's passing is news all over the world points to one of the unique aspects of his career.  He is a modern poet that people actually read. Very, very few modern poets can lay claim to that particular accomplishment. Many poets, critics and readers have called him the greatest poet of our time.  When he won the 1995 Nobel Prize for literature, he was praised "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past".

 

Seamus Heany died on August 30, 2013.  He left behind work of profound beauty and thoughtfulness fully worth visiting or endlessly revisiting.

--Don

Opened Ground

Opened Ground

A great look at the arc of Heaney's career.  The volume begins with the great poem "Digging" (see video above) and continues through most of Heaney's significant poems.  A highlight is the poetry from "North", some of the most powerful poems about political violence ever written.  Of particular importance is the famous poem "Bog Queen" about literally unearthing the past. The volume includes the text of his Nobel acceptance speech.

Beowulf

Beowulf

Heaney breathes new life into the ancient poem of Beowulf's quest against the monster Grendel.  He masterfully ties modern English to the archaic Anglo-Saxon.  The language is charged with energy and passion.  For a magnificent listening experience, check out the audiobook of Heaney reading the poetry!

District and Circle

District and Circle

One of the finest volumes of the latter part of of Heaney's career.  Here he celebrates everyday objects but also manages to interject concerns about the violent changes that both humanity and the planet itself are going through. 

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

This book is the closest we have to Heaney's autobiography.  O'Driscoll interviewed Heaney a total of sixteen times in order to extract Heaney's recollections of his life and work.  This is a great resource for all of us who long to know more about the poet behind the great writing.  Heaney reveals much about the process of writing as well as his own personal struggles throughout his life.  A remarkably entertaining and readable journey.

 

Image from newyorker.com

Tagged: Book Blog, Heaney, Seamus, Milpitas News, Books, Poetry, Remembering

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