London: Faber, 2001. First. pp. [x], 81. First edition. pp. [x], 81. Black paper boards, titled in white. Signed by Seamus Heaney. A fine copy of the first edition in fine dust jacket.
Seamus Heaney (b.1939), poet, essayist and playwright, born in Co. Derry and brought up on a small farm between Toomebridge and Castledawson. Afrer graduation from Queen's University, Belfast he taught for a year at St. Thomas's Intermediate School in Belfast, where Michael MacLaverty, the headmaster, encouraged his writing; he then became a lecturer at St. Joseph's Teacher Training College. While there he participated in the poetry group organised by Philip Hobsbaum at QUB, where he was appointed to the English Department in 1966. His first collection of poems is rooted in childhood experiences of life in rural Co. Derry. 'Wintering Out' (1972), deals with exposure and endurance in poems that are grimly circumspect about the re-emergent civil and sectarian conflict of the Nothern Ireland 'Troubles'.
Heaney moved to Glanmore, Co. Wicklow in 1972, working for a time as a freelance writer and then at Carysfort College in Co. Dublin.nIn 'Field Work' (1979), many of the poems are elegiac, dealing with the personal loss of friends and members of the community in Co. Derry during the period of extreme violence following Bloody Sunday in January 1972. In 1981 he accepted a post as Visiting Professor at Harvard where in 1984, he was elected Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Poetry. The T.S. Eliot Memorial Lectures at Canterbury in 1986 were published with other critical writings as 'The Government of the Tonguey (1988) - a title which underlines Heaney's conviction that poetry is a form of responsible government. 'The Cure at Troy' (1990), a play based on Sophocles' 'Philoctetes', dramatizes questions of personal conscience, duty and loyalty to the tribe. Appointed to the Chair of Poetry at Oxford in 1989 he now divides his time between Harvard and Dublin. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.
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