Seamus Heaney: His World


Award of Nobel Prize for Literature 1995

Dear Seamus Heaney,

Let me now remind you of your own Declaration of Independence – Poetry can never be reduced to a political, historical or moral issue. In the final resort poetry is its own reality. Ever since Death of a Naturalist I have admired the way in which you turn your back on the systematisers, to defend instead poetic creativity as a free, natural, biological process. We all admire your revealing and compelling images and rhythms, we are gladdened by your quest for sacred wells and the sudden eruption of Beauty. I am happy to convey to you, on behalf of the Swedish Academy, our warmest congratulations on the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1995 and to invite you to receive the Prize from the hands of His Majesty the King.

From the presentation speech by Mr. Östen Sjöstrand, Member of the Swedish Academy


Church Island

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"The spire above trees on Church Island - a definite landmark" (Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Denis O'Driscoll), recalled by Heaney talking about his daily path to Anahorish School. "The road was called Lagans Road and and there was a little hill on it called Mulholland's Brae". From here he could see the spire.