Monday, June 01, 2009
Art/Poetry is Peace
Things about Seamus Heaney
In awarding him the £40,000 David Cohen Prize in March, Andrew Motion said: 'For the last forty-odd years, Heaney's poems have crystallised the story of our times, in language which has bravely and memorably continued to extend its imaginative reach.' (Arts Council England 2009)
In April he turned seventy. You can see his birthday speech on youtube or read it at www.rte.ie/heaneyat70/
Patrick Kavanagh gave him the 'usual life' he was looking for and TS Eliot gave him the listening ear. See 'The Priceless Heaven: Another Look at Kavanagh' in The Government Tongue (FF 1988); 'Influences: The Power of TS Eliot' (Boston Review).
In his Nobel Prize speech he stated: 'The mission of art, poetry, is not to make peace. Art is peace.'
Read 'The Tollund Man' (Wintering Out FF 1972), then read 'The Tollund Man in Springtime' (District and Circle FF 2006) .
One of my favourite Heaney poems is 'The Thimble' (The Spirit Level FF 1996).