1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    R.I.P. Seamus Heaney

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Lemex, Aug 30, 2013.

    I've just been told by an old uni lecturer that about half an hour ago the poet Seamus Heaney passed away in Dublin. My lecturer had known him vaguely, and yet described him as 'a lovely person ... a gift'.

    I never did have the honor of meeting him personally, but I've always felt a sort of connection with him. He was the first contemporary poet I really identified with, and has remained a life-long favorite. I had a reader's relationship with him for most of my adult life, distant yet in one way very personal.

    R.I.P. Mr. Heaney. I've always wanted to tell you how much I've loved your work, and now I can't. :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  2. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    That's really so sad. I literally just finished studying his work at school and his poetry is pretty much the only one I got into properly. :( RIP
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Damn. This is sad news indeed. He was probably the best living poet. I feel like any compliments I give him won't do him or his work justice, so all I'll say is that he was an incredibly talented poet and will be missed. RIP.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I enjoyed his translation of Beowulf a great deal. May he rest in peace.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Another legendary writer from a land that spawns them. RIP.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    R.I.P., Mr. Heaney. You now take your place among Ireland's great literary pantheon. Thanks for opening our eyes a little wider.
     
  7. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    :(

    Goodbye Seamus.
     
  8. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Wouldn't this make a fitting epitaph?
     
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  9. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Well I guess I bid the man farewell as I begin to delve into his legacy. I just finished (and thoroughly enjoyed) his translation of Beowulf and was interested in reading more of his poems. I looked him up and saw how renowned he is. We may have lost a great poet, but he left us a lot of great poetry.
     
  10. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I think it's appropriate. ;)
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I honestly find his translations to be the weakest part of his work. His original poetry is amazing.
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    @Lemex If that's the case then I have good reading to look forward to. Do you have any recommendations or pieces you really enjoyed?
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I know how obvious this might sound but I highly recommend starting his first collection Death of a Naturalist. It's beautiful, and has some of his most well known poems like 'Digging' that was quoted above, 'Death of a Naturalist' itself, 'Blackberry Picking' and 'Midterm-Break' which is one of my favorites.

    And then I'd go for his collection North, which is one of my favorite collections of poetry; and the titular poem 'North' is one of my favorite poems. That poem is able to capture the entire feel and mood of the North Atlantic; while it is a poem about Ireland, it can so easily be applied to anyone here in the British Isles.

    After that it is up to you, but those two collections are just wonderful.

    If you are unsure of spending so much money I'd go for his collection Opened Ground: Poems 1966 to 1996. It has the creme of his writing from across his entire career, including the poems I've mentioned, and is intersected with bits of prose and harder to find stuff. I have it, and it's amazing.
     
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  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Opened Ground: Poems 1966 to 1996 is the collection I have. Generally, if you're going to start out with a poet, get a "collected poems" or a "selected poems" kind of book - every major poet has one. If you like it, you can go more in depth and get the individual collections. But with Heaney, Opened Ground is the place to start.
     
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  15. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Alright I'll take you for your word and get a hold of a copy of Opened Ground!
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure if Heaney would appreciate you calling Ireland a British Isle. He hadn't time for Britain in his earlier days, was unashamedly Irish Catholic in the face of staunch Ulster Loyalism and British oppression and was unswerving in his scathing remarks on successive UK govts and in 1985 wrote the Republic Of Conscience for Amnesty International while much of his work including Boglands was about his native Derry and the troubles of the North of Ireland.

    In 1983 he famously fell out with fellow poets and one time friends Andrew Motion and Blake Morrison for including him in the Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry. In response to Motion and Morrison he wrote ""Be advised, My passport's green. No glass of ours was ever raised, To toast the Queen" - part of a 198 line poem although in 2011 he had mellowed enough to raise a glass to Elizabeth II on her historic visit to Dublin.
     
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  17. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I'm not altogether sure that he did, Erebh. I didn't take the seem meaning from his post as you did. You might want to read that again. Given that he resides in Northeast England, and that he uses 'here', what I take from he he said is that, despite the fact that the poem is about Ireland, any one one resides in the British Isles can appreciate it. He did not say that Ireland is part of the British Isles.

    If I'm putting words in your mouth Lemex, correct me.

    And forgive me Seamus for contributing to derailing this thread.
     
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  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That is exactly what I meant.

    I picked those words with care as the poem does not center on the entire North Atlantic area, it mentions Greenland, and uses the idea of 'keening words' from Angle-Saxon - 'bone-house' for body, 'whale-road' for sea and so on. The poem also directly mentions Dublin, and 'Orkney' which I always thought referred to the Orkney Islands which are in Northern Scotland - I don't know of an Irish Orkney anyway.

    The poem is obviously Irish, but I also think the poem can say something to you if like me you are Scottish, or English. I also intentionally made that slightly ambiguous I must admit, out of respect for the opinions of people in Northern Ireland who want to remain a part of the UK, but this wasn't what I was focusing on saying.

    Can we not talk Anglo-Irish politics? This isn't really the time or the place, a good man has died for god's sake.
     
  19. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    My feelings exactly. And on a lighter note...

    I had the pleasure of meeting the man, many years back at a friends graduation from Queen's University in Belfast. He was giving a speech, and afterward joined our table. I remember telling him that after his house in Belfast was bulldozed, local youths had been seen to remove bricks from the debris. They'd turned up on eBay, being sold at £30 quid a pop.

    His responded by laughing, saying, "Why would anyone pay thirty quid for a single brick?"

    The crazy thing... people actually bought them.
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Haha, that's funny. :)

    My lecturer who I mentioned to know him vaguely had a funny story or two about him. I wish I could remember some of them, but the general impression I always got from them is that he was a really awesome, really down-to-earth guy. Not surprising given his poetry. :)
     
  21. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    If I had to sum up my impression of him in one word, the adjective I'd chose to describe him would be, 'earthy'.
     

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