Friends and family gather to remember poet Seamus Heaney

The great and the good filled Memorial Church in Harvard Yard to remember the late and lamented poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. Bob Kiely, the former housemaster at Adams House, recalled Heaney’s humility and humanity as a teacher at Harvard, and his easy way with students. The English department, where Heaney (inset) taught for nearly 30 years, was represented by a group of professors and students who read Heaney’s poems, sandwiched between piano interludes played by Matt Aucoin. Professor Helen Vendler, the greatest of Heaney’s interpreters, ended the night by reading “Lightenings,’’ in which the poet pondered mortality by observing, “And it is not particular at all, just old truth dawning; there is no next-time-round.’’ Among the guests were Heaney’s widow, Marie, and their children Michael, Christopher, and Catherine, who later joined Adams House masters Sean and Judy Palfrey for some quiet time where Heaney made his home in Cambridge all those years. Meanwhile, at Daedalus, the Mount Auburn Street restaurant where Heaney would occasionally enjoy a tumbler of Jameson’s, Galway-born owners Brendan and Laurence Hopkins remembered Heaney with a toast of amber-colored liquid.


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