Seamus Heaney died in 2013. Had he lived tomorrow would have been his 80th birthday. Heaney was a rare writer - a poet both beloved and respected. He was an eloquent advocate for the place and craft of poetry. Who would have thought Beowulf could be a modern day bestseller? Seamus Heaney's translation was. He made a profound social impact, too, and at the time of the Good Friday Agreement President Clinton memorably quoted
his lines from 'The Cure at Troy' '...once in a lifetime/ The longed-for tidal wave/ Of justice can rise up,/ And hope and history rhyme.'
Front Row this evening is devoted to Heaney's work, life and continuing inspiration. Kirsty Lang talks to Leontia Flynn, one of the leading younger writers of the North of Ireland; to his friend the poet Bernard O'Donoghue, who is working on a new edition of Heaney's Collected Poems with Rosie Lavan - from whom we hear, too.
The composer Mohammed Fairouz explains how he set some of the poems in his piece for choir and viola, 'In a New Light', which will have its European premier performance tomorrow in Bellaghy, where Heaney was born, and is buried.
And, from the BBC's archive, there is the wonderful voice of the poet himself, introducing and reading his work.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Julian May…read more