Speaking the Murderous and Marvelous – A Brief Tribute to Seamus Heaney

Thom Dawkins

ImageThis tribute was originally given at Case Western Reserve University on Friday, August 30th, several hours after learning that Seamus Heaney had passed that morning. 

Poets have a particular way of greeting one another, and it seems to always involve the same question. You’ll hear it at every AWP conference, every poetry reading, and every shady bar where poets have a tendency to gather.

Who do you read?

It’s a variation of the question we’ve been asked to consider today, and that variation makes for a ridiculous question. First of all, the tense of that question is strange – Who DO you read –  and second it ignores the fact that any poet or devoted reader of poetry is at all times reading everything that we can get our hands on.

Or at least we should be.

But no matter who asks the question, I always start with Seamus Heaney…

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