Birthday of Irish Literary Icons

“If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.” – Seamus Heaney

Today is the birthday of two iconic Irish poets. Seamus Heaney, born in 1939 was a native of Northern Ireland. Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.” He began publishing poems in the 1960s about ordinary things like potatoes and bullfrogs. Here he reads “Digging.”

Samuel Beckett, born on this day in 1906, was known mainly as a playwright and novelist. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969, and like Bob Dylan didn’t go to Stockholm to accept the award because he didn’t want to give a speech. Beckett moved to Paris in 1937 where he befriended another Irish ex-pat, James Joyce, who he helped with Finnegan’s Wake when Joyce’s eyesight began to fail. He moved to a farm in rural France during the Nazi occupation and worked for the French Resistance.

Literature, resistance and everyday miracles.





About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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9 Responses to Birthday of Irish Literary Icons

  1. Seamus Heaney poetry reading just wonderful. What a great gift to your readers, Jim. Thank you.


  2. Paul B says:

    It always amazes me, given the size of the population, how many fantastic writers a small island and its diaspora has produced – poets, novelists and sometime both – such as my favourite modern writer, Sebastian Barry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the poetry clip. Beautifully read and beautifully written


  4. Dennis McCrossen says:


    Sent from my iPhone



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