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About Seamus Heaney
Born near Castledawson, Northern Ireland, the family moved to nearby Bellaghy when he was a boy. Heaney became a lecturer in Belfast in the early 1960s, after attending university there, and began to publish poetry. He lived in Sandymount, Dublin, from 1976 until his death. Heaney was recognized as one of the principal contributors to poetry during his lifetime. 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), the T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999). In 2011, he was awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize and in 2012, a Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust. His literary papers are held by the National Library of Ireland.
Robert Lowell described him as "the most important Irish poet since Yeats", and many others, including the academic John Sutherland, have echoed the sentiment that he was "the greatest poet of our age". Robert Pinsky has stated that "with his wonderful gift of eye and ear Heaney has the gift of the story-teller." Upon his death in 2013, The Independent described him as "probably the best-known poet in the world."
His body is buried at the Cemetery of St. Mary's Church, Bellaghy, County Londonderry. The headstone bears the epitaph "WALK ON AIR AGAINST YOUR BETTER JUDGEMENT".
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Flickr user Sean O'Connor [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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New York Times bestseller and winner of the Costa Book Award.
Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel's mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface. Drawn to what he has called the "four-squareness of the utterance" in Beowulf and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.
A masterpiece from one of the greatest poets of the century
In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney's translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld. In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the significance of the poem to his writing, noting that "there's one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas's venture into the underworld. The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years--the golden bough, Charon's barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father."
In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and sophisticated poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of James Wood, "created something imperishable and great that is stainless--stainless, because its force as poetry makes it untouchable by the claw of literalism: it lives singly, as an English language poem."
Si elle n'est évidemment pas indemne des tourments et violences engendrées par le douloureux conflit qui a marqué l'histoire de son pays, conflit que le poète, homme de paix, a toujours voulu dépasser, la poésie de Heaney reste au plus près des choses concrètes et quotidiennes, attachée à la simplicité des êtres et des choses.
Un poète qui se situe dans l'extraordinaire constellation littéraire irlandaise parmi Yeats, Joyce ou Beckett...