City’s Poet Laureate is commemorated in Belfast

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council and Dan Heaney, at the launch.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council and Dan Heaney, at the launch.

A commemoration celebrating Londonderry’s Poet Laureate, Seamus Heaney, took place on Friday at The Crescent in Belfast.

At the event a special edition of literary publication ‘Irish Pages’, dedicated to the life and work of Seamus Heaney, was launched. It was preceded by the dedication of Deepa Mann-Kler’s neon light sculpture Noli Timere (Be Not Afraid), recording Heaney’s last words. The sculpture will remain on display in the foyer.

Irish Pages is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the event, which was attended by relatives of the poet, Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, said: “It is wonderful to have both a literary and a visual testament from some of our leading artists and poets that helps us mark the significance of Seamus Heaney’s poetry on our lives. This special edition of Irish Pages draws together, poems, essays and tributes, while Deepa’s light sculpture conveys the spirit of hope and positivity that many people took from Heaney’s work.”

In this first of two special Irish Pages publications dedicated to Seamus Heaney, there is a particular focus on poetry, memoir, reminiscence and literary essays. The issue also includes outstanding writing of all creative genres in a posthumous celebration of the enduring literary imagination in general. It includes four poems by Heaney himself; a suite of obituaries from leading writers in Ireland, Britain and the United States; a series of major essays and tributes; new poems written in the aftermath of Heaney’s death; and a rich selection of work in Irish. A remarkable portfolio of photographs by Bobbie Hanvey, spanning much of the poet’s adult life and concluding with his funeral, is also featured.