Seamus Heaney Wins Poetry Prize

The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 16, 2007; 12:35 PM

LONDON -- Irish poet Seamus Heaney has won the T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry for his collection, "District and Circle," the judges announced Monday.

The collection, the 12th by the Nobel Prize winner, is a sequence of sonnets recalling the summer when a young Heaney traveled to work on the District and Circle lines of the London Underground.

"There are many reasons to feel honored by the award of this prize: the aura of T.S. Eliot's name, for a start; the distinction of the previous winners; the quality of the other poets on this year's shortlist; and the high regard in which the judges are held," Heaney said in a message to the panel.

"When I called one of the poems in `District and Circle' `Anything Can Happen,' I wasn't thinking that anything like this would happen to the book, but it certainly expresses what I am feeling at the moment."

Sean O'Brien, who chaired the judging panel, said it was "a commanding, exhilarating work. In an outstandingly strong field, this was an exceptional collection of poems."

Heaney, 67, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

© 2007 The Associated Press