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Truth to Life


Filed under: Poetry

We celebrate the lasting power of Seamus Heaney’s verse, his ability to ‘credit marvels’, and his enduring presence in the work of poets writing now.

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1995, Seamus Heaney said, ‘I credit poetry because credit is due to it, in our time and in all time, for its truth to life, in every sense of that phrase.’ Five years after his death, we celebrate the lasting power of Heaney’s verse, his ability to ‘credit marvels’, and his enduring presence in the work of poets writing now. Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright and performer. He is a Complete Works poet alumnus and was elected an RSL Fellow in 2018. Sinéad Morrissey has published six books of poetry and was Assistant Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is now Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Andrew O’Hagan, prize-winning novelist, and friend of Seamus Heaney, chairs the evening’s readings.

We are grateful to the T. S. Eliot Estate for sponsoring this event, and a series of new commissioned writing in response to the NPG’s Seamus Heaney portraits.

Recorded on: October 5, 2018
Recorded at: National Portrait Gallery