Seamus Heaney

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Seamus Heaney (born 13 April 1939, pronounced /ˈʃeɪməs ˈhiːni/) is an Irish poet, writer and lecturer. He currently lives in Dublin.[1][2]

Regarded as an elder statesman of poetry, [3]Heaney has received the T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and the Nobel Prize in Literature (1995) and two Whitbread prizes (1996 and 1999). He was both the Harvard and the Oxford Professor of Poetry and was made a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996.


Early life

From Mid-term break

Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

Heaney was born on 13 April 1939 at the family farmhouse called Mossbawn,[2] between Castledawson and Toomebridge in Northern Ireland; he was the first of nine children. In 1953, his family moved to Bellaghy, a few miles away, which is now the family home. His father, Patrick Heaney, a local of Castledawson, was the eighth child of ten born to James and Sarah Heaney.[4] Patrick was a farmer but his real commitment was to cattle-dealing, to which he was introduced by the uncles who had cared for him after the early death of his own parents.[5] Heaney's mother came from the McCann family, whose uncles and relations were employed in the local linen mill and whose aunt had worked as a maid for the mill owner's family. The poet has commented on the fact that his parentage thus contains both the Ireland of the cattle-herding Gaelic past and the Ulster of the Industrial Revolution; he considers this to have been a significant tension in his background.

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