NEWS — 28 August 2014

seamus heaney

Ireland’s postal service have released new commemorative stamps to celebrate Seamus Heaney ahead of the first anniversary of his death on Saturday.

An Post’s 68c stamp features a black and white photographer of the Derry born poet, who received the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Seamus’ son Michael spoke on behalf of the family and today’s viewing of the stamp: “We are immensely moved that An Post has chosen to mark Dad’s memory with the issue of this stamp.

“The year since he died has been a sad time for our family, but this is not only a wonderful testament to his life and work, but also a reminder of the generosity and support people have shown since Dad’s passing. We would like to express our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone involved in bestowing this rare honour on the husband, father, grandfather and poet we miss so much.”

The stamp was designed by Dublin-based Vermillion Design, and the photograph taken by John Minihan, while a special First Day Cover envelope shows an extract from his 1969 poem, Bogland, alongside details from Heaney’s own poetry notes.

Both items may be viewed and purchased at all main post offices, at the GPO Stamp Shop and online at irishstamps.ie.

Heaney was born on April 13 1939 in Castledawson in Co. Derry. He received a scholarship to attend St Columb’s College in Derry and went on to study English at Queen’s University, Belfast. After his graduation in 1961, he worked as a schoolteacher for a time before becoming a college lecturer.

He had his publishing debut in 1966 with Death of a Naturalist.  He went on to publish many more acclaimed collections of poetry including North (1975), Station Island (1984), The Spirit Level (1996) and District and Circle (2006).  His translation of the epic poem Beowulf (2000), for which he won the Whitbread Prize, became a best seller.

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