SÉÚ SRAITH LÉACHTAÍ SEAMUS HEANEY
SIXTH SEAMUS HEANEY LECTURE SERIES
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The sixth Seamus Heaney Lecture Series entitled Hearing Heaney commenced on Monday 31 January 2011. There were six lectures in this series and all took place on Mondays at 8pm in the Auditorium of St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.
N.B. A link to the podcast of each lecture has been posted under each speaker's name as it becomes available.
First Lecture: Monday 31 January 2011
Olivia O'Leary: Seamus Heaney: Part of What we Are
Guest Chair: Fiach Mac Conghail (Abbey Theatre)
Olivia O’Leary looks at the Ireland she covered as a journalist over the last four decades and at the part that Seamus Heaney played in that, by writing about it, and by simply being there. She remembers the effect he had on those like herself whose loyalties were torn by the Northern troubles; she explores the ethical dilemmas he faced, dilemmas faced in a more prosaic way by journalists trying to maintain a balance in the middle of a storm of violence. She notes how early he foresaw the changed Ireland of the Boom and saw how unprepared we would be for the accompanying cultural clear-out.
She describes how he has made the the countryside around Mossbawn in Co. Derry part of our imaginative landscape, as much as Yeats’ Sligo or Frank O’Connor’s Cork, and how he has made Northern Ireland part of us in a way that history and politics has often failed to do.
She tells how Heaney has reflected our time and place, and shared that time and place with us as few other writers have done, and how in a life devoted to cause of poetry , he has shared above all his belief that poetry helps us to live.
Olivia O’Leary has presented television and radio programmes for the last three decades for both RTÉ and the British Channels, BBC and ITV. She presents the ‘Between Ourselves’ discussion programme for BBC Radio 4, and does a weekly political column for RTÉ Radio 1’s Drivetime. Two collections of her radio columns have been published by O’Brien Press. She has co-written, with Dr Helen Burke, the authorised biography of former President, Mary Robinson, which was published by Hodder and Stoughton.
Second Lecture: Monday 7 February 2011
Vona Groarke: Between the lines: the Writer's Heaney
Guest Chair: Liam Ó Muirthile (Writer-in-residence, SPD)
Click Here to access the Podcast
Seamus Heaney is a master of the poetic line. This talk will look at various ways in which that line operates, and will draw a few connecting lines of its own between poems of wide-ranging thematic, formal and tonal reach. There will be a close reading of poems such as ‘Broagh’ and ‘Terminus’, and a response to the recent collection, Human Chain, as well as a consideration of how rhyme is put to use as a synthesizing, coalescing force. In addition to so many perceived straight lines, this talk will also identify and engage with Heaney’s use of the rebound, or the circular, ‘pinhole’ motif, and will suggest ways in which the language and imagery of separate poems and separate collections, home in on themselves. This talk offers a poet’s response to the work of Seamus Heaney, and is a free-form reading of the means by which these poems pull off what is, by any reckoning, a breath-taking, high-wire act.
Vona Groarke’s five poetry collections, published by The Gallery Press, include Shale, Other People’s Houses, Flight (which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and won the Michael Hartnett Award), Juniper Street and, most recently, Spindrift, which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2009 and was shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Prize in 2010. Her version of Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill’s classic eighteenth century Irish poem was published in 2008 as Lament for Art O’Leary.
Vona Groarke has taught at Villanova University and Wake Forest University in the U.S. and currently teaches in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. In 2010 she was elected to Aosdána.
Third Lecture: Monday 14 February 2011-This Lecture is Cancelled
Michael Cronin: Translation Island: Language, Culture & Crisis
Guest Chair: An tOllamh Máirín Nic Eoin (Roinn na Gaeilge, SPD)
Throughout his poetic career, Seamus Heaney has been engaged in the practice of translation. In this lecture, Prof. Cronin will focus on the wider significance of this translation practice for the current social, political and cultural crisis in Irish society. In particular, it will be argued that Heaney’s specific involvement with translation provides a way of creatively reimagining an Ireland that has become in recent times a hostage to a politics of fear and submissive mediocrity.
Prof. Michael Cronin was educated in Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin and he holds a Personal Chair in Dublin City University. He is the Humanities and Social Sciences Secretary of the Royal Irish Academy, Chairperson of Poetry Ireland and Irish Language Literature Advisor to the Arts Council. He has published widely on translation, travel writing and Irish Studies.
Fourth Lecture: Monday 21 February 2011
Pauric Travers: Crossing Borders: Heaney and the Ulster 'Thing'
Guest Chair: John Kelly (RTÉ)
This talk will explore the impact of the Ulster troubles on the poetry of Seamus Heaney. It will focus on Heaney’s background and his response to the evolving conflict in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the present. Based largely on the poet’s own words, the talk will consider his recent District and Circle (2006) and Human Chain (2010) as well as other collections including North (1975) and Station Island (1984). Questions raised relate to the public role of the poet, the sometimes unreasonable expectations which arise and the relationship of art and politics. The borders in question in the title are geographical and psychological as well as, in the case of the speaker, disciplinary.
The guest chair at this lecture will be John Kelly (RTÉ). John will be well known to listeners and to viewers of various radio and television programmes on RTÉ. Among his many and varied pursuits, he currently presents 'The View' on RTÉ 1 and 'The John Kelly Ensemble' on RTÉ's Lyric Fm.
Born north of a line from Bundoran to Berwick, Pauric Travers is an educator and historian. President of St Patrick’s College, he has written and lectured widely on aspects of Irish history, including the Ulster question and the conflict in Northern Ireland. He is a founding director of the Parnell Summer School, a director and vice chair of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and former joint chair of the Standing Committee on Teacher Education, North and South.
Fifth Lecture: Monday 28 February 2011
J.J. Lee: 'Hope and history rhyme': Heaney and History
Guest Chair: Prof. Marian Lyons (NUI Maynooth)
The oft-quoted line of Heaney’s, ‘And hope and history rhyme’ appears as the climax of a memorable stanza in The Cure at Troy, Heaney’s celebrated adaptation of Philoctetes by Sophocles:
History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime,
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme
Exquisitely crafted though the words be, they of course pose immediate questions to a prosaic historian like myself. What hope and what history? Whose hope and whose history? What justice and whose justice? How does Heaney get his sense of history - or his sense of justice? How do any of us? Does it imply that we know not only what history was, but what it will be - or at least can be, indeed should be? This paper attempts to address these questions from a historical perspective in the course of an exploration of the role of ideas of history in literary and historical cultures, stimulated by, and engaging with, the sense of history in Heaney’s imagination.
Prof. J.J. Lee is a graduate of UCD and has been Glucksman Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of History since 2002 at New York University, where he is Director of Glucksman Ireland House, having been head of a department of History in UCC, 1974 -2002, and a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1968-74. An Eisenhower Fellow, MRIA and D.Litt. (h.c.) of the NUI, he has published mainly on the history of modern Ireland, the Irish diaspora, Germany, and international relations.
Sixth Lecture: Monday 7 March 2011
Harry Clifton: The Physical World of Seamus Heaney
Guest Chair: Siobhán Parkinson (Laureate na n'Og)
Harry Clifton was born in Dublin in 1952 but has lived in Africa and Asia as well as more recently in Europe. He has published six collections of poems including The Desert Route: Selected Poems 1973-1988 (Gallery Press 1992) and Secular Eden: Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 (Wake Forest University Press 2007). On the Spine of Italy, his prose study of an Abruzzese mountain community, was published by Macmillan in 1999. For ten years he lived in France, publishing Le Canto d’Ulysse, his poems in French translation in 1996, and returning to Ireland in 2004. He lives in Dublin and is currently Ireland Professor of Poetry.
Organising Committee/Coiste Eagrúcháin:
Ciarán Mac Murchaidh, Eugene McNulty, Regina Murphy, Máire Ní Bhaoill, Rióna Ní Fhrighil, John O’Flynn, Pádraig Ó Duibhir, Mary Shine-Thompson.
Last Updated: Wednesday August 24 2011