Irish Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney has died at the age of 74 after a short illness. Heaney, who was born in Northern Ireland in 1939, died in a hospital in Dublin. His family released the following statement; “The death has taken place of Seamus Heaney. The poet and Nobel Laureate died in hospital in Dublin this morning after a short illness. The family has requested privacy at this time.”
The poet published 13 collections of poetry, with his last collection Human Chain published in 2010. As well as being Ireland’s Poet Laureate, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
Heaney also acted as Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard in 1994 and was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1989 – 1994.
As the news of his death broke, celebrities such as Mia Farrow and Bill Clinton shared their memories of Heaney on Twitter.
"Once in a lifetime the longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme." - Seamus Heaney pic.twitter.com/9GN1C3jp0K— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) August 30, 2013
My treasured copy of Chorus signed by Seamus Heaney pic.twitter.com/DpiMrP91vv— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) August 30, 2013
As someone who was educated in both the UK and Ireland, I spent many happy hours reading Heaney’s work and he will be greatly missed.
Seamus Heaney was once asked to find an appropriate epitaph from his great body of work, he chose the quote “Wherever that man went, he went gratefully.”
It is taken from his translation of Oedipus at Colonus , I think this is a fabulous quote to sum up a unique and talented man who made the world a richer place by being here.
Listen to the poet reading his work below.