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Seamus Heaney (1939–2013)

Author of Opened Ground: Poems 1966–1996

198+ Works 13,865 Members 139 Reviews 77 Favorited

About the Author

Seamus Heaney was born in Mossbawn, Ireland on April 13, 1939. He received a degree in English from Queen's College in Belfast in 1961. After earning his teacher's certificate in English from St. Joseph's College in Belfast the following year, he took a position at the school as an English teacher. show more During his time as a teacher at St. Joseph's, he wrote and published work in the university magazine under the pen name Incertus. In 1966, he became an English literature lecturer at Queen's College in Belfast. His first volume of poems, Death of a Naturalist, went on to receive the E.C. Gregory Award, the Cholmondeley Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. After the death of his parents, Heaney published the poetry volumes The Haw Lantern, which includes a sonnet sequence memorializing his mother, and Seeing Things, a collection containing numerous poems for his father. His other works included Field Work, Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996, and Human Chain. Heaney was a professor at Harvard from 1981 to 1997 and its Poet in Residence from 1988 to 2006. From 1989 to 1994 he was also the Professor of Poetry at Oxford and in 1996 was made a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres. Other awards that he received include the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968), the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999). In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry. His literary papers are held by the National Library of Ireland. He died following a short illness on August 30, 2013 at the age of 74. Heaney's last words were in a text to his wife Marie, "Noli timere", which means "Do not be afraid." (Bowker Author Biography) Seamus Heaney lives in Dublin and teaches at Harvard University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1995. (Publisher Provided) Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in Northern Ireland. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. A resident of Dublin, he has taught poetry at Oxford University and Harvard University. (Publisher Provided) show less
Image credit: Photo by Norman McBeath, courtesy of Faber Books

Series

Works by Seamus Heaney

Opened Ground: Poems 1966–1996 (1998) 1,491 copies, 9 reviews
Selected Poems, 1966-1987 (1990) 1,237 copies, 11 reviews
The Rattle Bag (1982) — Editor — 921 copies, 12 reviews
Beowulf: A Verse Translation [Norton Critical Edition] (2002) — Translator; Translator — 896 copies, 9 reviews
Death of a Naturalist (1966) 721 copies, 8 reviews
District and Circle (2006) 642 copies, 6 reviews
The Spirit Level (1996) 625 copies, 6 reviews
North (1975) 506 copies, 6 reviews
Seeing Things (1991) 498 copies, 2 reviews
Electric Light (2001) 462 copies, 6 reviews
Station Island (1984) 430 copies, 3 reviews
Human Chain (2010) 425 copies, 13 reviews
Field Work (1979) 414 copies, 4 reviews
The redress of poetry (1995) 362 copies, 1 review
The Haw Lantern (1987) 309 copies
Sweeney Astray (0800) 305 copies, 3 reviews
Aeneid: Book VI [in translation] (0029) — Translator — 216 copies, 3 reviews
The School Bag (1997) — Editor — 194 copies
Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978 (1980) 184 copies, 1 review
100 Poems (2018) 159 copies, 2 reviews
Wintering Out (1972) 150 copies
Door into the Dark (1969) 150 copies, 1 review
Selected Poems 1988-2013 (2014) 137 copies, 2 reviews
Beowulf: abridged audio (2000) 77 copies, 10 reviews
Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture (1995) 65 copies, 1 review
Homage to Robert Frost (1996) — Contributor — 65 copies
Sweeney's Flight (1992) 26 copies
The Midnight Verdict (1993) 25 copies
The Letters of Seamus Heaney (2023) 23 copies, 1 review
The Complete Translations (2023) 21 copies
På väg : dikter (1994) 19 copies
Collected Poems (1999) 18 copies, 1 review
Vereffeningen gedichten (1991) 12 copies
Seamus Heaney (1988) 12 copies
Ojanpiennarten kuningas (1995) 11 copies
Tonen som kom (1989) 7 copies
Una porta sul buio (1998) 6 copies
Poèmes, 1966-1984 (1988) 6 copies, 1 review
The Poet and the Piper (2003) 4 copies
Vattenpasset (2002) 4 copies
The testament of Cresseid (2004) 4 copies
Attraversamenti (1995) 4 copies
Antologia Poética (1994) 4 copies
Poesie scelte (1996) 4 copies
Ukkosvaloa (1997) 4 copies
New and Selected Poems (2014) 2 copies
Selected Poems 2 copies
Conlán 2 copies
The Riverbank Field (2007) 2 copies
44 wiersze (1994) 2 copies
Sonetos: Edicion Bilingue (2008) 2 copies
Cadena humana (2011) 1 copy
Tree Clock 1 copy
Distrito Y Circular (2014) 1 copy
Ploughshares 20: Spring 1980 — Guest Editor — 1 copy
Hundra dikter (2022) 1 copy
Zawierzyć poezji (1996) 1 copy
Stations (1975) 1 copy
Eleven Poems 1 copy
ALFABETE 1 copy
W.B. Yeats 1 copy
Bog Poems (1975) 1 copy
Die Poesie würdigen (2000) 1 copy
Salmagundi 1 copy
Catena umana (2011) 1 copy
Seamus Heaney Box Set (2013) 1 copy
Laments (2015) 1 copy
Fältarbete 1 copy
創作の場所 (2001) 1 copy

Associated Works

Beowulf (1000) — Introduction, some editions; Translator, some editions; Narrator, some editions — 25,789 copies, 332 reviews
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,283 copies, 9 reviews
A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 837 copies, 11 reviews
The Nation's Favourite Poems (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 628 copies, 7 reviews
World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time (1998) — Contributor — 452 copies, 1 review
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th Edition, Volume A (2005) — Translator, some editions — 440 copies, 1 review
A Way of Life, Like Any Other (1978) — Introduction — 314 copies, 8 reviews
W. B. Yeats: Poems Selected by Seamus Heaney (2000) — Editor, some editions — 300 copies, 4 reviews
The Faber Book of Modern Verse (1936) — Contributor, some editions — 293 copies, 2 reviews
The People of the Sea: A Journey in Search of the Seal Legend (1954) — Introduction, some editions — 220 copies, 3 reviews
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 207 copies, 21 reviews
Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach (2003) — Contributor — 202 copies, 1 review
The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (1970) — Contributor — 201 copies
British Poetry Since 1945 (1970) — Contributor, some editions — 167 copies, 2 reviews
After Ovid: New Metamorphoses (1994) — Contributor — 155 copies
The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation (2010) — Foreword, some editions — 153 copies, 2 reviews
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 141 copies, 1 review
The Testament of Cresseid & Seven Fables (1500) — Translator — 128 copies
Granta 111: Going Back (2010) — Contributor — 114 copies, 1 review
Emergency Kit (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 110 copies, 1 review
Leading From Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead (2007) — Contributor — 102 copies, 3 reviews
Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry (2020) — Contributor — 96 copies, 32 reviews
The Poet's Work: 29 Poets on the Origins and Practice of Their Art (1979) — Contributor — 89 copies, 1 review
Laments (1981) — Translator, some editions — 82 copies
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children (1994) — Contributor — 73 copies
Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (2001) — Contributor — 69 copies, 2 reviews
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 64 copies, 1 review
Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry about Birds (2004) — Contributor — 33 copies, 1 review
Antaeus No. 75/76, Autumn 1994 - The Final Issue (1994) — Contributor — 32 copies
Poets from the North of Ireland (1979) — Contributor — 29 copies
One World of Literature (1992) — Contributor — 24 copies
James Joyce: A Collection of Critical Essays (1992) — Contributor — 19 copies
AQA Anthology (2002) — Author, some editions — 19 copies
The Finest Music: Early Irish Lyrics (2014) — Contributor — 19 copies
Modern Poets: Four (1968) — Author — 17 copies
Masters of British Literature, Volume B (2007) — Contributor — 17 copies
Oxford Readings in Vergil's Eclogues (2008) — Contributor — 9 copies
The Art of translation : voices from the field (1989) — Contributor — 4 copies
Antaeus: Fiction, Poetry, Documents - Jubilee Edition (1991) — Contributor — 3 copies
The New Salmagundi Reader (1996) — Contributor — 3 copies
Archipelago: Number Two - Spring 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 2 copies
Archipelago, Number One, Summer 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 2 copies

Tagged

(764) 20th century (233) Anglo-Saxon (649) anthology (691) Beowulf (516) British (190) British literature (261) classic (711) classic literature (145) classics (1,000) dragons (166) English (209) English literature (391) epic (799) epic poetry (472) essays (164) fantasy (287) fiction (1,491) folklore (189) Heaney (134) history (243) Ireland (421) Irish (496) Irish literature (293) Irish poetry (296) literature (1,309) medieval (655) medieval literature (299) Middle Ages (180) monsters (173) myth (133) non-fiction (211) Old English (901) own (152) poetry (8,942) read (409) Seamus Heaney (211) to-read (1,078) translation (494) unread (170)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Heaney, Seamus
Legal name
Heaney, Seamus Justin
Birthdate
1939-04-13
Date of death
2013-08-30
Gender
male
Nationality
Northern Ireland, UK
Birthplace
Castledawson, Northern Ireland, UK
Place of death
Dublin, Ireland
Places of residence
Northern Ireland, UK
Dublin, Ireland
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Education
Queen's University Belfast (BA|1961)
Occupations
poet
professor
Relationships
Heaney, Marie (spouse)
Organizations
Queen's University Belfast
Harvard University
Oxford University
Awards and honors
Nobel Prize (Literature, 1995)
Royal Society of Literature Companion of Literature (1991)
Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement (2004)
Lannan Literary Award (1990)
E. M. Forster Award (1975)
David Cohen British Literature Prize (2009) (show all 16)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary ∙ Literature ∙ 1993)
Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1996)
Saoi of the Aosdána (1998)
Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968)
PEN Translation Prize (1985)
Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001)
T. S. Eliot Prize (2006)
Whitbread Prize (1996 | 1999)
Griffin Poetry Prize (2011)
Royal Irish Academy (1997)
Agent
Steven Barclay Agency
Short biography
Born in Londonderry in 1939, Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney is among the best in Northern Irish literature. Heaney is considered one of the greatest poets of the late twentieth century, with a spectrum of awards received in his lifetime, including the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. His most famous volume, Death of a Naturalist (1966) explored his childhood in Northern Ireland, from Roman Catholic influences, political life, and the death of his younger brother at age four, in ‘Mid-term Break’ (1966). As a Professor of Poetry at Harvard and Oxford University, he became a Professor at his own institution, Queen’s University, Belfast, which opened the Seamus Heaney centre for poetry in 2003.

Members

Discussions

Seamus Heaney in Poetry Fool (January 2017)
TIOLI September 2013: Seamus Heaney Memorial Challenge in 75 Books Challenge for 2013 (September 2013)

Reviews

I read Heaney for the first time more than 12 years ago now (thanks Mr. Masterman!) Death of a Naturalist was probably the second poem I can really remember thinking hard about. I wouldn't say I'm a poetry guy, but Heaney's command of sound and imagery gets me. Take Blackberry Picking, or The Gravel Walks; he can pull out feeling from the simplest of scenes. I'll add some thoughts here as I am reminded of particular pieces.

Digging
Mid-Term Break
Requiem for the Croppies
A Call
… (more)
 
Flagged
Zedseayou | 8 other reviews | Jan 30, 2024 |
It almost seems irrelevant to write a review of this book. I mean, Seamus Heaney can’t get any better known or loved by me saying *I love this book*.

But I do. Just as I am stirred by his words, his perceptions, his way of capturing a thought or juxtaposing two things I would never think to put together (and no, I'm not carried off by every single one of these 100 poems, but by many, *many*, I am), I am also grateful to him. For his honesty, his vulnerability, his tenderness for selves and technologies and humans and leafy spaces that no longer are or are not yet, as in a poem to his toddler grandchild in later years. He has room for all of these in him, and I recognise my own complexity reflected in his, and am grateful for this gentle companion in life.… (more)
 
Flagged
thesmellofbooks | 1 other review | Dec 21, 2023 |
I am going to miss sitting on Seamus Heaney's shoulder. For some reason I never did hear him live, though I saw many fine poets read in the 1980s/90s.

Heaney's family agreed to support and facilitate this project where necessary under the strict understanding no letters to family or close, non-public, friends appeared. The majority of the correspondents are poets, translators, editors and others in the publishing world. The thing that becomes most quickly apparent is that Seamus had a great gift for friendship, even if there isn't a letter in the volume that doesn't begin with an apology for the lateness in his reply to their letters.

The second thing is the great richness in attention he pays to the work sent to him by his friends, and that received by him (not included) by them, his gratitude is deep and buoyant.

Reading a lifetime's creative arc is fascinating, informative, invigorating. In Heaney's case though the success ultimately crowded out the silent time for writing poetry. It wasn't until late in his life that he learned to say no to the invitations to teach and speak around the world, and then it was his health that made it near impossible for him to write, as physical problems led to bouts of deep depression. Despite this though, his body of work is substantial.

Breaking the rigid agreement the last entry is a text to his wife Marie, as he was being wheeled into surgery 'Noli Timere' (do not be afraid). He died before reaching the operating theatre.
… (more)
 
Flagged
Caroline_McElwee | Nov 30, 2023 |
I prefer the original but this was well done.
 
Flagged
VictorHalfwit | 2 other reviews | Oct 19, 2023 |

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Ted Hughes Editor
Derek Walcott Contributor
Rachel Giese Photographer
John Banville Foreword
Daniel Donoghue Contributor, Editor
Jane Chance Contributor
Thomas Hill Contributor
John Leyerle Contributor
J. R. R. Tolkien Contributor
Alcuin Contributor
Leslie Webster Contributor
Fred C. Robinson Contributor
Gregory of Tours Contributor
Roberta Frank Contributor
Kate Abbott Research
Martin Dodsworth Contributor
Peter Marsh Contributor
Mary Kenny Contributor
Helen Vendler Introduction
Neil Porter Contributor
Faye Dayan Editor
Rachana Jadhav Illustrator
Louis le Brocquy Cover artist
Onno Kosters Translator
Han van der Vegt Translator
Hanz Mirck Translator
Peter Nijmeijer Translator
Jan Eijkelboom Translator
室井 光広 Translator
佐藤 亨 Translator
Annika Preis Designer
Darren Gavigan Project manager
Joanna Rodell Production
Tracey Tomlin Picture editor
Gavin Brammall Art director
John Spencer Illustrator
Pas Paschali Production editor
Nicholas Wroe Series editor
Martine Franck Photographer
Dave Hall Subeditor
Catherine Cronin Rights manager

Statistics

Works
198
Also by
56
Members
13,865
Popularity
#1,666
Rating
3.9
Reviews
139
ISBNs
371
Languages
18
Favorited
77

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