Seamus Heaney’s 100 best-loved poems to be published in June

Faber publication of family’s selection of Nobel laureate’s most loved and celebrated poems to coincide with major new Dublin exhibition

Seamus Heaney: “a learned, kindly and flawless guide, a companion in and out of the marvellous”

Seamus Heaney: “a learned, kindly and flawless guide, a companion in and out of the marvellous”

 

Faber & Faber has announced a new selection of Seamus Heaney’s best-loved poems. Publication on June 28th will coincide with the opening of a major new exhibition, Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again, which will draw on the National Library of Ireland’s extensive archive of Heaney manuscripts and will go on display at the new cultural and heritage centre within Bank of Ireland’s College Green complex in Dublin, this summer.

The late Nobel laureate had the idea to form a personal selection of poems from across the entire arc of his writing life, small yet comprehensive enough to serve as an introduction for all comers. He never managed to do this himself, and no other edition exists which has such a broad range, drawing from first to last of his prize-winning collections. But now, the project has been returned to, resulting in an intimate gathering of poems chosen and introduced by the Heaney family.

In 100 Poems, readers will find his most loved and celebrated poems, as well as perhaps new favourites. Speaking on behalf of the family, Catherine Heaney said: “Choosing the poems for this book was a very special process for our family, and a poignant one. Rereading my father’s 12 original volumes – from Death of a Naturalist to Human Chain – and selecting our favourites gave us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the work again, hear his voice and remember moments from our shared past. We each had our particular choices, and keeping to one hundred sometimes felt like a challenge, but we hope that the resulting book reflects my father’s life’s work in all its breadth and that every reader will find something here to enjoy.”

Speaking on behalf of Faber, Matthew Hollis said: “With Seamus Heaney’s passing, his hope for a brief, singular selection of his work seemed destined to go unfulfilled; it is with particular resonance, then, that his family should now feel able to take up the task on his behalf. Reading the work in this powerfully concentrated form is to deliver yourself into the hands of a true expert: a learned, kindly and flawless guide, a companion in and out of the marvellous. It is the work of six decades, but the writing of an era.”

Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again, is a National Library of Ireland exhibition at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre, College Green, Dublin. The exhibition is curated by Prof Geraldine Higgins, working closely with the Heaney family, and supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and by the Bank of Ireland. It will draw on the National Library’s extensive archive of Heaney documents and will feature Heaney’s original manuscripts, as well as letters, unpublished works, diary entries, photographs, notebooks and multi-media recordings. For more information about the exhibition, visit nli.ie/seamusheaney.

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