Seamus Heaney was often considered to be the greatest living poets in the world, never mind the greatest from his native Ireland, for much of his adult life. His seamless manipulation of prose and his craftsmanship with the pen were second to none and with the news of his death comes a dark shadow over the ever-shrinking pool of great poets still alive today. Heaney's death was announced this Friday (30 August) a short while after he passed away in a Dublin hospital.
Born in Castledawson, Norther Ireland on April 13, 1939, Seamus Justin Heaney worked as a teacher before eventually entering the world of poetry, where he was soon noticed as a promising talent in the writing world. As his writing improved and his works became more and more frequent, he was soon recognised as one of the world's greatest living poets by the latter quarter of the 20th century, eventually winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
Heaney reads his poem 'Digging'
A proud Irishman, his homeland was often the basis for his work, with Heaney often using Ireland's natural beauty, it's troubled past and present and his own experiences in Eire and Ulster to produce a roundly acclaimed body of work over the course of his 40 + years as an active writer. Some of his most notable works include Death of a Naturalist (1966), Station Island (1984), North (1975) and Seeing Things (1991).
His death has resulted in a plethora of obituaries, memorials and statements from famous friends and fans of the poet, and he and his work will remain in the public psyche for decades to come. Never one to fear the inevitability of death, Heaney wrote in his 2010 work 'Human Chain' - "The door was open and the house was dark/Wherefore I called his name, although I knew/The answer this time would be silence."
Seamus Heaney; 1939 - 2013