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Poems As 'Stepping Stones': Remembering Seamus Heaney

Sep 1, 2013
Originally published on September 1, 2013 5:18 pm
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JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

The Irish poet Seamus Heaney died this week at the age of 74. Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and has been described as the most important Irish poet since Yeats. After he learned of Heaney's death, Irish politician Ammon Gilmore said in a statement: His poetry explained us to ourselves. In his work, the dignity and honor of everyday lives of people came to life.

I spoke with Seamus Heaney on this program in 2008, and he told me of a poem inspired by his childhood in Northern Ireland.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

LYDEN: In a genre that can be overlooked, Heaney managed something special. Ordinary readers loved him. And even as he grew as a public figure, Heaney said his writing was still intensely personal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

LYDEN: As we ended our interview, Heaney recalled one final poem.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LYDEN: Seamus Heaney speaking on this program in 2008. He died on Friday in Dublin. He was 74. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.