Thursday, April 27, 2006

A poem is a way of meaning more than one thing at a time.

--John Ciardi


Seamus Heaney (1939 - )

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland, on April 13, 1939, the first of nine children. While teaching at St. Joseph’s College in Belfast in 1963, Heaney began to write (he was 24 years old), and his first volume of poetry, Eleven Poems, was published in 1965, but it was his Death of a Naturalist (1966), that won him international acclaim. His early work, which refers to his childhood on the family cattle farm, was influenced by Robert Frost and Ted Hughes. Influences on his later poetry include Hopkins, Wordsworth, and Hardy. Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, and was considered at that time to be the best Irish poet since 1923, the year that the last Irish poet—William Butler Yeats—won the prize. (Coincidentally, Heaney was born the year that Yeats died.) Heaney moved with his family from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic in 1972. He continues writing, continues winning prizes, and teaches at Harvard for part of the year.

--From Poetry Speaks


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