Poet, born on a farm near Castledawson in Co Londonderry, N Northern Ireland, UK. The eldest of nine children, he studied at Queen's University in Belfast, and moved to Dublin in 1976. Early works such as Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door into the Dark (1969) established a deep bond between language and the land. Later volumes (North, 1975; Field Work, 1979; Station Island, 1984) extended this to reveal a problematic political dimension, and the more recent Haw Lantern (1987, Whitbread) and Seeing Things (1991) confirm him as one of the most significant of contemporary English-language poets. His play The Cure at Troy (1990) is a version of Sophocles' Philoctetes. He became professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard in 1985, and professor of poetry at Oxford in 1989. Volumes of selected poems appeared in 1980, 1990, and 1998, and his collection The Spirit Level received the Whitbread poetry award in 1996. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. His translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf (1999, Whitbread) into modern English is considered a masterpiece of poetic creativity. Later works include Finders Keepers: Selected prose 1971-2001 (2002), and the poetry collection District and Circle (2006). The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry was opened at Queen's University in 2004.
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