Friday 17 November 2017 07:37:02 PM

Tributes After Death Of Nobel Prize Winning Poet Seamus Heaney
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Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013)

Tributes have been flowing after the famous poet from Derry, Seamus Heaney, passed away today. He was a Nobel prize winner for literature and always liked to be known as a Derry man. He was a towering figure in the modern poetry, and highly respected across the whole world for his immense contribution.

First and Deputy Minister Pay Their Respects

First Minister Rt. Hon Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA have expressed their sadness at the death of Seamus Heaney.

The First Minister said: ” I was sorry to learn of the passing of Poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. I convey my deepest sympathies to all his family and friends at this time.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013).

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

“Seamus made a significant contribution to literature not just in Northern Ireland but across the world. His legacy and love of literature is something that will inspire future generations.”

The deputy First Minister said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ireland’s greatest poet and one of the literary giants of our generation Seamus Heaney. Foremost in my thoughts are his family and friends and I offer my sincere sympathies to his wife Marie, the entire family circle and his friends at this difficult time.

The writings of Seamus Heaney transcended all generations and boundaries and has been extensively quoted by world leaders including Bill Clinton on his visit to Derry in 1995. Just a couple of weeks ago as part of the Fleadh in Derry I attended a performance by Seamus Heaney and Liam O’Flynn. The performance that night by Seamus and Liam epitomised all that is good about culture and how it enriches all our lives.”

DCAL Minister Pays Tribute to Seamus Heaney

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has also paid tribute to poet Seamus Heaney. The Minister said: “I am very saddened to hear of the death of Seamus Heaney. He was a literary great of our age and his voice will be truly missed.

“There were many parallels between Heaney and his work. His reputation was global, but he never lost sight of his roots. His writings were universal, but frequently dealt with the smallest details of life in Ireland. His poems could be disarmingly simple and yet had an engaging complexity.

“He could show poignancy, insight and humour in a single line. Heaney captured the character of this land and its people, and conveyed it in words which will echo for generations. He was a Nobel Laureate and international figure, but a Co Derry man at heart.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”

Lyric friend and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney “will be greatly missed”.

Friends and staff of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast were deeply saddened to learn of Seamus Heaney’s death today (30 Aug) and are hosting a celebration of his life tomorrow (Sat 31 Aug) at the theatre at 7.45pm.

The free event which is open to everyone will feature readings of Heaney’s work and personal tributes. A portrait of the world-renowned poet by Bangor artist Colin Davidson will be on special display at the event.

The Nobel Laureate made his last public appearance in Belfast at the Lyric on 23 April 2012 where he addressed a sold-out audience to mark the new building’s first anniversary.

The theatre’s close association with Seamus Heaney is reflected throughout the new building which contains a bust of the poet by sculptor, Philip Flanagan and a Louis le Brocquy painting at the entrance steps.

Mark Carruthers, Lyric Chairman paid tribute to the distinguished poet. He said:  “Seamus Heaney was a long-time friend and supporter of the Lyric Theatre and we are all therefore deeply saddened at his passing. He was a man of enormous talents – easily the greatest Irish poet since Yeats. His loss will be deeply felt beyond the arts world.

“As Lyric Chairman we would like to offer our sincere condolences to his wife Marie and family. He will be greatly missed.”

An impromptu round of applause was led by actor and friend of Seamus’, Adrian Dunbar, at the Philip Flanagan bust today.

At the death of another renowned poet John Hewitt, who also had a long association with the Lyric, the theatre opened its doors to those who wished to mourn him. In the same spirit, the Lyric is hostingtomorrow night’s event on the Danske Bank Stage to celebrate the life of Seamus Heaney. (As tickets are limited please book in person or call the Box Office on 028 9038 1081.)

Karen McKevitt MLA, SDLP spokesperson for Culture, Arts and Leisure, has joined the ranks of those paying tribute to Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney who has passed away this morning in Dublin.

Ms McKevitt said: “The news that Seamus Heaney has died will be met with great sadness by people on this Island and across the world who held him in such high esteem.

“His work touched the hearts and minds of people across the globe and culminated in his receiving the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995.

“Only two weeks ago Seamus Heaney attended the Merriman summer school in Lisdoonvarna which showed his continued dedication to his craft.

“I have no doubt that his body of work will continue to inspire and uplift all those who responded to his thoughtful and profound pieces of work.”

*******

DEATH OF A NATURALIST.
All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window-sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst into nimble-
Swimming tadpoles.
Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.
Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.
Seamus Heaney (1939-2013).