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Seamus Heaney, Esteemed Irish Poet, Dies At 74

Seamus Heaney, Esteemed Irish Poet, Dies At 74

08/31/2013

Seamus Heaney, the Irish Nobel laureate in literature, died on Friday in Dublin. He was 74.

Heaney had been hospitalized on Thursday following a fall, according to Heaney’s friend and fellow Irish poet Paul Muldoon. Heaney had suffered a stroke in 2006. The late poet’s publisher, Faber, announced his death Friday morning.

“We cannot adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers,” Faber’s statement read. “His impact on literary culture is immeasurable. As his publisher we could not have been prouder to publish his work over nearly 50 years. He was nothing short of an inspiration to the company, and his friendship over many years is a great loss."

Throughout his illustrious career, Heaney was often compared to the foremost Irish poet – William Butler Yeats. The Roman Catholic writer not only lent his pen to poetry, but also to critical essays and drama. Keeping close to the traditions of Ireland, he often wrote about the hardships that befell his beloved country. Since the 80s, Heaney had also given his time to teaching at universities, including Harvard, Oxford and the University of California, Berkeley.

Heaney’s celebrity as a poet distinguished him from others who used the lyricism of poetry as their primary medium of expression. Not only could he layer lines upon lines of eloquent and visceral phrases, he was also able to connect with the everyman and woman by being accessible and straightforward. It is for that combination of reasons that Heaney became one the most widely read poets.

Among Heaney’s collections of poems are Death of a Naturalist, Door Into the Dark, Winter Out, Station Island, The Midnight Verdict, Electric Light and Human Chain. His regarded poems include, “Digging,” “The Cure at Troy”and “Whatever You Say, Say Nothing.”

Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and three children.

– Chelsea Regan

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Read more: Seamus Heaney, Poetry, Deaths

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