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BACKROUND INFORMATION…read more

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Five Facts for Seamus Heaney
· Seamus Heaney was born in Castledawson, County
Derry, Northern Ireland, on April 13, 1939.
· In 1963, he began teaching English at St. Joseph's
College in Belfast. He earned his teaching certificate
in English at the same school.
· In 1965, he married Marie Devlin, and in 1966, he
published his first book, Death of a Naturalist.
· In 1995, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
· He has spent part of every year since 1981 teaching
at Harvard University.…read more

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Biography
· Born April 13, 1939
· Lived on family farm in County Derry
·Attended St. Joseph's College
· Married Marie Devlin and had three children, Michael,
Christopher, and Kathryn Ann
· Published Eleven Poems in 1965 with the Belfast Festival
· Became renown after publishing Death of A Naturalist
·Honored with the Poetry Book Society Choice of the year
award for Door into the Dark
· Joined Field Day, a theatre company founded by Brian
Friel and Stephen Real
·Adapted a version of Sophocles' Philoctetes
·In 1984, he was named Boylston Professor of Rhetoric
and Oratory, one of Harvard's most prestigious offices
·Won Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1995…read more

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What is the poem about?
In this poem Heaney sees his father, an old man,
digging the flowerbeds. He remembers how his
younger, stronger father used to dig in the potato
fields when Heaney was a child - and how his
grandfather, before that, was an expert turf
digger. Heaney knows that he has no spade to
follow men like them - he is a writer, not a farmer
- so will dig with his pen. He will 'dig' into his
past.…read more

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THE POEM ITSELF
Structure, Themes, Ideas and Attitude…read more

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