Seamus Heaney

Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/21/2016 - 13:08

photo of Seamus HeaneyQuotes

  • I have begun to think of life as a series of ripples widening out from an original center.
  • The fact of the matter is that the most unexpected and miraculous thing in my life was the arrival in it of poetry itself - as a vocation and an elevation almost.
  • I think that water is immediately interesting. It's just, as an element, it is full of life. It is associated with origin; it is bright - it reflects you.
  • Every time you read a poem aloud to yourself in the presence of others, you are reading it into yourself and them. Voice helps to carry words farther and deeper than the eye.
  • I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one's own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing.
  • Loyalism, or Unionism, or Protestantism, or whatever you want to call it, in Northern Ireland - it operates not as a class system, but a caste system.
  • It is very true to say that work done by writers is quite often an attempt to give solid expression to that which is bothering them... They feel they have got it right if they express the stress.
  • I've said it before about the Nobel Prize: it's like being struck by a more or less benign avalanche. It was unexpected, unlooked for, and extraordinary.


Seamus Heaney was born on 13 April 1939, died 30 August 2013. He was an Irish poet, playwright, translator and lecturer.

He was born near Castledawson, Northern Ireland, and the family moved Bellaghy when he was young. He was a lecturer in Belfast in the early 1960s, after attending university there, and his first poems were published then. He then lived in Sandymount, Dublin, from 1976 until his death.

He had many gifts as a poet - of eye and ear, and the great gift of story-telling. Some of his work reflected on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, but apart from his poetry, he was famaous as a translator, especially his version of the epic Anglo-Saxon  poem “Beowulf”, but also many translations from Irish, Greek and Latin.

His body is buried in Bellaghy, County Londonderry. The headstone bears the epitaph "WALK ON AIR AGAINST YOUR BETTER JUDGEMENT".