Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013

Seamus Heaney, one of the greatest poets of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, has died today. He was 74. 

The Guardian has some wonderful coverage--videos of Heaney reading his poetry, a slideshow of Heaney through the years, even a picture of the poet's "reading room" in his Dublin house's attic.

Here is an excerpt from "Casualty":

... that morning  
I was taken in his boat,  
The Screw purling, turning  
Indolent fathoms white,  
I tasted freedom with him.  
To get out early, haul  
Steadily off the bottom,  
Dispraise the catch, and smile  
As you find a rhythm  
Working you, slow mile by mile,  
Into your proper haunt  
Somewhere, well out, beyond...

Anthony Domestico is an assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of Poetry and Theology in the Modernist Period (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). He writes Commonweal's "Bookmarks" column.

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