Seamus Heaney

Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer

Seamus Justin Heaney (13 April 193930 August 2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, and translator. In 1995 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.

Poetry Quotes edit

My passport's green.
No glass of ours was ever raised
To toast The Queen.
Once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

Death of a Naturalist edit

  • The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
    Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
    Through living roots awaken in my head.
    But I've no spade to follow men like them.
    Between my finger and my thumb
    The squat pen rests.
    I'll dig with it.
  • God is a foreman with certain definite views
    Who orders life in shifts of work and leisure.
    • "Docker", line 10, from Death of a Naturalist.

The Cure at Troy edit

  • Human beings suffer,
    they torture one another,
    they get hurt and get hard.

    No poem or play or song
    can fully right a wrong
    inflicted or endured.
  • History says don't hope
    On this side of the grave.
    But then, once in a lifetime
    The longed for tidal wave
    Of justice can rise up
    And hope and history rhyme.

    So hope for a great sea-change
    on the far side of revenge.
    Believe that a further shore
    is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    and cures and healing wells.
    • "Doubletake", from The Cure at Troy (1990)
  • Call the miracle self-healing:
    The utter self-revealing
    double-take of feeling.

    If there's fire on the mountain
    Or lightning and storm
    And a god speaks from the sky

    That means someone is hearing
    the outcry and the birth-cry
    of new life at its term.

    • "Doubletake", from The Cure at Troy (1990)

Other Quotes edit

  • My poetry journey into the wilderness of language was a journey where each point of arrival turned out to be a stepping stone rather than a destination.
    • From Nobel Prize for Literature speech 1995
  • The writing of certain poems (eg 'The Guttural Muse and others)took me to the bottom of myself, something inchoate but troubled, you might say I had muddied the waters, but I felt these poems arrived from an older , deeper, cleaner spring.
  • I don't mean sound as decoration or elaboration, but the actual cadence that moves the thing along.
    • 'Stepping Stones' interviews with Seamus Heaney' by Dennis O'Driscoll Faber and Faber 2009
  • Is there life before death? That's chalked up
    In Ballymurphy. Competence with pain,
    Coherent miseries, a bite and a sup,
    We hug our little destiny again.
    • "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing", line 57, from North (1975).
  • I rhyme
    To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.
    • "Personal Helicon", line 19, from Eleven Poems (1965).

Quotes about Heaney edit

  • A poet for whom sound is crucial, who relishes the way words and consonants knock around together.
    • Tim Nolan 'New Hibernia Review' vol 13, no 3 2009
  • Heaney has the rare capacity to improvise sentences which are at once spontaneous and shapely, play and profound, beautiful and true.
    • Introduction-'Stepping Stones ' Interview bio by Dennis O'Driscoll Faber & Faber 2009
  • För ett författarskap av lyrisk skönhet och etiskt djup, som lyfter fram vardagens mirakler och det levande förflutna.
    • For works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.
    • Heaney's 1995 Nobel diploma. [1] [2]
  • I didn’t find the voices in published literature in Australia that could show me the way...Heaney felt like a mentor I wish I had while I was trying to write.

External links edit

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