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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C

The New York Times pays tribute to Seamus Heaney

“His lines could embody a dark, marshy melancholy, but as often as not they also communicated the wild onrushing joy of being alive.”

imageMia Farrow/Twitter

BELOVED OF IRELAND, Seamus Heaney graced the front pages of the vast majority of national newspapers this morning but he is also mourned further afield.

A graceful image of the 74-year-old Nobel Laureate features prominently in today’s edition of the New York Times above the headline, “He Wove Irish Strife and Soil Into Silken Verse”.

An article by Margalit Fox remembers the poet for his work that “powerfully evoked the beauty and blood that together have come to define the modern Irish condition”.

According to the author, Heaney “repeatedly explored the strife and uncertainties that have afflicted his homeland, while managing simultaneously to steer clear of polemic”.

Throughout his work, Mr. Heaney was consumed with morality. In his hands, a peat bog is not merely an emblematic feature of the Irish landscape; it is also a spiritual quagmire, evoking the deep ethical conundrums that have long pervaded the place.

“At its best, Mr. Heaney’s work had both a meditative lyricism and an airy velocity. His lines could embody a dark, marshy melancholy, but as often as not they also communicated the wild onrushing joy of being alive.

The result — work that was finely wrought yet notably straightforward — made Mr. Heaney one of the most widely read poets in the world.

A note from the editorial board of the paper also pays tribute to the Derry native.

“Mr. Heaney is remembered for the power of his joy in working the language, and in the spirit of his elegiacal salute to his friend Robert Lowell: “The way we are living,/ timorous or bold,/ will have been our life,” writes Francis X Clines.

Seamus Heaney will be laid to rest in Bellaghy Cemetery in Derry on Monday evening following a funeral mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. His removal to the church has been arranged for 6.45pm tomorrow.

Books of Condolence will open next week in Belfast and Dublin.

Heaney passed away unexpectedly on Friday after a short illness.

Read: Funeral arrangements for Seamus Heaney announced

Share: Your favourite Seamus Heaney poetry and school memories

Taoiseach: ‘Seamus Heaney’s death brings great sorrow to Ireland’

More: The life and times of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney in pictures

Michael D: ‘Full of humour, care and courtesy’: President leads tributes

VIDEOS: Seamus Heaney on life, love and poetry

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