We live in an age in which the attack on language is endemic; an age in which techniques like the filibuster have been used to effect mass dysfunction in governance and prevent people from talking to one another.
The winds make us lean towards this place, to inhale its spirit, and the broken waters summon us to baptize our dreams, and, in our own foreign way, contribute to the exquisite idea that is Northern Ireland.
Every American stands on the shoulders of courageous, hard-working ancestors who came here from another country, bringing their cultures with them. Each of us is justifiably proud of our culture and heritage, and we deserve to see them respected, if not honored.
My friend and collaborator Seamus Heaney was buried two months ago. It seemed particularly cruel to me that we would lose a poetic giant in a time when the need for a return to language seems to be vital to the future of humanity.
Well, it's not exactly accurate to say that Heaney was a Red Sox fan because he had a hard time understanding baseball, despite my efforts to explain it to him, but he liked the experience of going to Fenway Park.
It's one thing to meet a great artist. I've been lucky enough to meet, and interview, quite a few considerable artists, and a handful I would probably describe as great. But it doesn't happen all that often in a life that you meet a great human being.
hen the world lost Seamus Heaney, so departed among its most glorious of voices. While the gift of his written voice will continue to live on indefinitely, the expressively inspiring tones of the poet's physical sound have sadly been extinguished.
I'm not much one for crying. But this morning I did, as I watched Irish poet Seamus Heaney's funeral, and heard his last words. Words he sent to his wife minutes before he died. 'Noli timere' -- don't be afraid.
His family and friends are in mourning for Seamus Heaney, who died in Dublin on August 30. They are joined by a world of acquaintances and admirers, both known and unknown to Heaney himself, whose grieving is for the poet and the man -- if those could be separated.
In an overwhelmingly conceptual era, in which nearly all the arts are dominated by precious young geniuses showing off their technical virtuosity and theoretical sophistication, Seamus Heaney was a great experimental old master.
Perhaps in these moments, when the president must feel he is going it alone, he might take down that poem and heed Seamus' admonition that, "We must not forget the call of conscience and we must endeavour to keep others awake to it."
For each of us, there are writers who mean something: when we remember to pick up their work in the midst of our busy lives, it soothes and uplifts us. Heaney was writer number one of that kind for me.
The thing I needed to fix in my book: Something's gone wrong in David's marriage, and his wife has moved out. His law partner assures him that Blair will return; if he's smart, he won't ask her about the weeks she's been gone. Easy to say, hard to do. Then he remembers a Seamus Heaney poem.
Stretching from London to Edinburgh, spanning theology and makeshift graffiti, my hope is that you will seek these poems out for your own sake, to bring a little transcontinental mischief and mirth to your reading in the year ahead.