Brief notes on John Clare and Seamus Heaney

just a couple of small paragraphs of background on the two poets to help you gain a better understanding of them and their poems

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Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney, born in 1939, he is an Irish poet who won the 1995 Nobel Prize for
literature. Heaney was born in a small agricultural town 48 km (30 mi) northeast of Belfast in
Northern Ireland. In 1957 he went to Belfast to study literature at Queen's University, where
he returned as a lecturer in 1965. Troubled by the continuing violence between the Roman
Catholics and Protestants, Heaney moved to the Republic of Ireland in 1972. He taught at
Carysfort College in Dublin from 1975 to 1980. Later, he taught at Harvard University in
Cambridge, Massachusetts and at the University of Oxford, in England.
John Clare
John Clare (17931864), he was an English poet, born in Helpstone, Northamptonshire. The
son of a poor labourer, he was forced to go to work at an early age. The publication in 1820
of his first volume of poetry, Poems, Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, brought him fame
and a measure of financial security. After the fashion for poetry with rural themes ended,
John Clare was again cast into obscurity. He continued to write but had to support his family
as a labourer. His later works were less successful he became impoverished and after 1837
was confined in an insane asylum where he wrote some of his finest works. Because his
poems dealt with rustic scenes and village life, he was known as the Northamptonshire
Peasant Poet. Among his works are The Village Minstrel and Other Poems (1821), The
Shepherd's Calendar (1827), and The Rural Muse (1835). Unlike many other poets from a
similar background, Clare never adopted an artificial, mannered diction but continued to
write in his idiosyncratic style.


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