09/04/2013 08:55 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Seamus Heaney: Words of Comfort

Seamus Heaney in Belfast, 2007, © the author.

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. Playwright Tom Stoppard knows that in Heaney's case it can't be done; as he said to The Guardian on the day of Heaney's death, "Seamus never had a sour moment, neither in person nor on paper. You couldn't help loving him any more than you could help reading on from the first line."

The memorials, remembrances, and appreciations for and of Heaney are unsurprisingly many, indeed already overwhelming. Five of them, however, collected here, are to me full of elegance, eloquence, and truth.

Roy Foster, The Observer (August 31, 2013): Seamus Heaney Remembered.

Paul Muldoon, The New Yorker (September 2, 2013): Seamus Heaney's Beauty.

Colm Tóibín, The Guardian (August 30, 2013): Seamus Heaney's books were events in our lives.

Peter McDonald, Tower Poetry (September 2, 2013): Seamus Heaney.

Michael Longley, speaking with grace and gentleness about Heaney to reporter Eamonn Mallie.