Seamus Heaney was called “the most important Irish poet since W.B. Yeats” by Robert Lowell. Heaney was an honorary member of The Folger Poetry Board and the inaugural poet for the Folger Poetry Board Reading in 1991.

The Folger Shakespeare Library honors his passing with a reading celebrating the acclaimed poet, translator, playwright, and lecturer. Confirmed poets for the evening include Eamon Grennan, Paula Meehan, Frank Bidart, Bernard O'Donoghue and Jane Hirshfield.

Heaney was a Northern Ireland native and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was the author of over 30 books of poetry, prose, and translations, including District and Circle, Field Work. Human Chain, and Beowulf. He had received numerous awards and honors including the T. S. Eliot Prize, the PEN Translation Prize, and two Whitbread Prizes. In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry. Heaney was both the Harvard and the Oxford Professor of Poetry and lived in Dublin.

Special note: This reading has been moved from The Church of the Reformation to the Folger Theatre.


From A Herbal

What was better then

Than to crush a leaf or a herb
Between your palms,

Then wave it slowly, soothingly
Past your mouth and nose

And breathe?


From Human Chain © 2010 by Seamus Heaney, published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. Used with permission.