Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013) was an Irish poet, playwright, translator and lecturer, and the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past."
Heaney's poetry reflects a gift for creating warm, long-lasting relationships, and an ability to evoke nature using a few brilliantly-chosen words. In his poems, many of which dwell upon the natural world, Heaney offers unique ways of "seeing things" in the people and the environment surrounding us. Selected fine press books and limited edition broadsides enhance the visual aspect of what Malcolm Jones of Newsweek described as "Heaney’s own poetic vernacular - muscular language so rich with the tones and smell of earth that you almost expect to find a few crumbs of dirt clinging to his lines ..."
Heaney made a number of visits to Boston College, including seven Humanities Series appearances. Two letters written by Heaney to Fr. Sweeney (director of the Humanities Series from 1958 to 1998) show the warm familiarity Heaney had with the Boston College community. Heaney’s approachable demeanor is evident in a 1998 group photograph with Boston College graduate students and in two portraits from the Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives.