Seamus Heaney to read at Notre Dame

by Michael O. Garvey

Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney will read from his work at 8 p.m. September 26 (Friday) in the University of Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall auditorium.p. Heaney, who received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995, is one of the most widely read poets in English today. Born on April 13, 1939, in Mossbawn, County Derry, Ireland, he was the eldest of nine children. Educated at the local school in the town of Anahorish and later at Saint Columb’s College in Derry, he studied at Queen’s College, Belfast, from which he was graduated with honors in English in 1961. He began to publish poetry in the early 1960s, was a visiting professor at Harvard during the 1970s, and became chair of the department of poetry at Oxford University in 1988, a position he held until 1994.p. “The form of the poem,” he wrote in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “is crucial to poetry’s power to do the thing which always is and always will be to poetry’s credit: the power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it, the power to remind us that we are hunters and gatherers of values, that our very solitudes and distresses are creditable, in so far as they, too, are an earnest of our veritable human being.”p. Heaney’s publications include more than a dozen volumes of poetry, three collections of prose, a play, and numerous pamphlets, translations, and lectures. His most recent books are a volume of poetry, “Electric Light,” and “Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001.”p. Heaney’s reading is sponsored by Notre Dame’s Keough Institute for Irish Studies and the Devers Program in Dante Studies and is a component of a conference entitled “Dante’s Cultures,” which will be held at Notre Dame Sept. 25-27. The conference is the fourth meeting of the International Dante Seminar, an association of the world’s most renowned Dante scholars. It will concern Dante’s emergence from and influence on the philosophy and politics of his time as well as the roots of his verse in the works of the troubadours of 12th century Provencal. The conference also will examine recent scholarship on Dante’s influence on Irish writers.

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