Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

Past Event: Monday, October 7, 2002

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Sponsored by Hoffman Construction Company of Washington

In 1995 Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy praised him “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.”

Born in 1939 in County Derry, the eldest of nine children, Heaney was raised on his parents’ farm in Northern Ireland. His poetry is deeply marked by both his rural upbringing and his experience of political unrest. “He has often written of the poet as a kind of farmer,” notes The New York Times, “as though Ireland’s wet peat were a storehouse of images and memories.” But violence is always intruding on this bucolic life, as he makes clear in his famous poem “Digging”: “Between my finger and my thumb/ The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.”

Heaney’s first poetry collections, Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door Into the Dark (1969), earned him international acclaim. He has gone on to publish numerous collections of poetry, three works of criticism, and The Cure at Troy, a version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes. In 2000, Heaney published a new translation of Beowulf, turning the Anglo-Saxon epic into an international bestseller a thousand years after it was originally written. His most recent publications include Opened Ground (1998), Diary of One Who Vanished (2000), and Electric Light (2001).

Excerpt from the translation of Beowulf (2000)
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns.

There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes.
This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
as his powers waxed and his worth was proved,
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute. That was one good king.

 

Selected Work
Beowulf: A Translation (2000)
Opened Ground (1998)
The Redress of Poetry: Oxford lectures (1995)
New Selected Poems 1966-1987 (1990)
North (1979)
Door into the Dark (1969)
Death of a Naturalist (1966)

Links
Nobel lecture, “Crediting Poetry”
New York Times Review of Beowulf
Commencement address given by Heaney

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

Parking
The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.

Accessibility

All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Please contact us at sal@lectures.org or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.