"Remembering Seamus Heaney," a public event to celebrate the life and work of the Irish poet and Emory University friend who passed away last week, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 5 to 7 pm in the Jones Room at the Robert W. Woodruff Library on the Emory campus. The event is free and open to the public and the campus community.
A significant collection of the poet’s papers are held by Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), and Heaney became better acquainted with many in the Emory community because of that relationship. MARBL director Rosemary Magee told the Emory Report, “The loss of Seamus Heaney is a loss to an international community of poetry that knows no boundaries. At Emory we feel this loss very personally as he was a member of our community. His visits, his poetry readings, his papers—his very being gave him a presence here that was meaningful and tangible.”
Among the members of the Emory community who will share remembrances and read some of Heaney’s poems are Geraldine Higgins, associate professor of English and director of the Irish Studies program; Rosemary Magee, MARBL director and Vice President and Secretary of the University; Ron Schuchard, professor emeritus of English, and Kevin Young, Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing and curator of MARBL’s literary collections and Raymond Danowski Poetry Library.
Heaney’s longstanding connection with Emory extends back more than 30 years to his first poetry reading here in March 1981; he also delivered the inaugural Richard Ellmann lecture in 1988. Heaney’s archive housed at MARBL—including papers, correspondence, and complete collection of his many books—forms a centerpiece of its vibrant Irish collections, what one writer called “An Irish Village at Emory.”
Heaney’s most recent visit to campus was in March 2013, when he read as part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series and the annual 12th Night Celebration at Woodruff Library. In spring 2014, Heaney’s work will be the subject of a major, long-planned exhibition, based on MARBL’s holdings, in the Schatten Gallery.
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- Elaine Justice
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