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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seamus Heaney Gone At 74

Irish poet Seamus Heaney died yesterday, 30 August 2013, in Dublin. Some of his obituary in The Washington Post (by Adrian Higgins) follows:
"Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet whose verse captured the transcendent power, darkness and humanity of his conflicted homeland, died Aug. 30 at a hospital in Dublin. He was 74.

His death was announced in a statement released by his family and his publisher, Faber and Faber. The cause was not disclosed, but he was in failing health after a stroke in 2006.

In accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, Mr. Heaney acknowledged another Irish Nobel laureate, William Butler Yeats, and the power of Yeats’s verse to define an Ireland beyond the violence of its independence almost a century ago. Mr. Heaney came to give voice to another period of violent upheaval that defined his native province of Ulster for much of his 50-year writing career.

The poet Robert Lowell called Mr. Heaney the greatest Irish poet since Yeats. The poet Paul Muldoon, a student of Mr. Heaney’s in the 1960s, said his mentor was “actually the most popular Irish poet ever,” although Mr. Heaney would have been indifferent to such ranking.

In 1999, Mr. Heaney’s acclaimed translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic “Beowulf” became an international bestseller. ..."

I had picked up a copy of Heaney's Beowulf translation (above) early this summer. I wanted to read it, since my only experience with the tale had been reading a bit of it in High School English many decades ago. The translation assigned back then was essentially unintelligible for young students. So, I wondered about Heaney's highly praised new translation. I found it excellent and easy to follow and have gained a new appreciation of both the ancient myth and also of John Gardner's Grendel, which I had read during the winter.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Sale Catalogue

I have just picked up a special summer sale catalogue at the printers. Below is a portion of page 1. If you would like a copy sent, please email me     bob@squidinkbooks.com