Seamus Heaney: Blackbird

18th November 2019 19:00
Hall One, Kings Place
90 York Way
Seamus Heaney: Blackbird

Poet in the City and Faber present

Widely recognised as one of the major poets of the 20th century Seamus Heaney's work is notable for its evocation of Irish rural life and Irish historical events. Through his poetry he tapped into a humanity which transcended political and cultural divides and found its way into the hearts of readers across the world. In 1995 Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature, securing his place as one of the most well-loved poets of the last 100 years.

Through an evening of live poetry and discussion, join us in celebration of this seminal poet and reflect on what his poetry can teach us about today’s rapidly changing society. Featuring writer and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre Glenn Patterson, Irish historian and academic Roy Foster, poet Vona Groarke and celebrated actor Bríd Brennan.

This event is in collaboration with Faber Members for Faber’s 90th anniversary and is generously sponsored by Hughes Fowler Carruthers who are long term supporters and partners of Poet in the City. Partner Renato Labi was our previous Chair and Frances Hughes was involved in the early days of the charity. We are thrilled to continue our partnership the firm.

Poet in the City is proud to have collaborated with Heaney a number of times during his lifetime, hosting two events with the poet himself in 2010 and 2012, as well as a tribute event in 2014 following his passing.

Bríd Brennan is a Northern Irish actress who is known for her theatre work, she originated the role of Agnes in the Brian Friel play Dancing at Lughnasa, for which she won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. She is also a three-time Olivier Award nominee; for Rutherford and Son, The Little Foxes and The Ferryman. Brennan reprised her role of Agnes in the 1998 film version of Dancing at Lughnasa, starring alongside Meryl Streep. Her television credits include Peaky Blinders, South Riding and The Escape Artist.

Vona Groarke has published eleven books with Gallery Press, the latest being Double Negative (2019). Her Selected Poems won the 2017 Pigott Prize for best Irish collection, and her 2016 book-length personal essay on art frames, Four Sides Full , was the ‘Book on One’ on Irish National Radio in January 2017. A Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library 2018-19, she is the current Van Cleef & Arpels Fellow at the Bogliasco Foundation. Former editor of Poetry Ireland Review , she teaches at the University of Manchester and otherwise lives in Co. Sligo, in the west of Ireland.

Roy Foster is emeritus professor of Irish history at the University of Oxford and professor of Irish history and literature at Queen Mary University of London. His books include Lord Randolph Churchill: a political life (Oxford University Press).

Glenn Patterson was born, and lives, in Belfast. A founding patron of Fighting Words Belfast, he lectures in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen's University, Belfast. He was the 2016 Heimbold Visiting Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University and before that, in 2013, Ireland Fund Artist-in-Residence at St Michael's College, University of Toronto. He is currently featured in the International Literature Showcase 2016.

Poems performed on the night by Bríd Brennan:

  • Two Lorries

  • The Harvest Bow

  • In the Attic

  • Route 110 (an excerpt)

  • The Blackbird of Glanmore

  • Punishment

  • The Birch Grove

  • Exposure

  • Terminus

  • From the Republic of Conscience

  • Requiem for the Croppies

  • Death of a Naturalist


Image credits - Poetry: Seamus Heaney, Photograph: John Minihan, Designer: Rosie Lewis
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