Seamus Heaney has died. Britain’s poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy said Seamus Heaney was ‘the poet we all measured ourselves against’.
He was a snowy-haired, craggy mountain of a man; a man who radiated granite integrity and deep kindness. He was a poet, among the greatest of our era, and the first of his nation to win the Nobel prize since Yeats.
Seamus Heaney, who has died in hospital in Dublin, aged 74, leaves family, friends and readers in Ireland and beyond “feeling personally bereaved”, in the words of his longtime friend, the poet Michael Longley. “Just as his presence filled a room, his marvellous poems filled the hearts of generations of readers.”
Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s poet laureate, said that for his “brothers and sisters in poetry … he came to be the poet we all measured ourselves against and he demonstrated the true vocational nature of his art for every moment of his life. He is irreplaceable.” For poet Don Paterson, “the death of this beloved man seems to have left a breach in the language itself”.