Celebrating the legacy of Seamus Heaney

(Courtesy of the Folger Library) (Courtesy of the Folger Library)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The Folger Library in Washington had lined up Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney for a reading this spring. But the beloved Irish poet died last summer in Dublin.

Rather than cancel the event, the Folger decided to honor Heaney with a night of literary tributes on April 7 at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation. Among the poets who will read from their work are Eamon Grennan, Paula Meehan, Bernard O’Donoghue, Jane Hirshfield and Frank Bidart, who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in March. The reading will also include remarks from Joseph Hassett, the author of “W.B. Yeats and the Muses.”

The Honorable Anne Anderson, Ambassador of Ireland, is scheduled to present opening remarks at the Folger tribute. A great fan of her countryman’s verse, she hosted a private tribute to Heaney in November. Sen. Patrick Leahy, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Paul Muldoon, Alice McDermott and others attended what was the new ambassador’s first literary dinner in her residence.

After the reading on April 7, the audience is invited to a reception and book signing across the street at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Tickets to the event are $25 and can be purchased online or by calling 202-544-7077. The Lutheran Church of the Reformation is at 212 East Capitol St. NE, Washington.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.

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