New York, NY (September 26, 2013)—On November 11, poets Frank Bidart, Sven Birkerts, Eavan Boland, Lucie Brock-Broido, Greg Delanty, Jonathan Galassi, Eamon Grennan, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Yusef Komunyakaa, Paul Muldoon, Atsuro Riley, Tom Sleigh, Tracy K. Smith, Colm Tóibín, Jean Valentine, Anne Waldman, Kevin Young, and others will gather at Cooper Union for a public tribute to the beloved and world-renowned poet Seamus Heaney, who passed away on August 30, 2013, at the age of 74. Each will read a favorite Heaney poem. Singer Paul Simon will make a special guest appearance, and Irish pipes will be played. It will take place at 7:00 p.m. in Cooper Union’s Great Hall and is free and open to the public with no tickets or reservations required. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.
The event is jointly organized by leading poetry organizations—the Academy of American Poets, Poets House, Poetry Society of America, the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y—along with Heaney’s American publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Cosponsors include Cave Canem Foundation, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, Irish Arts Center, Kundiman, the National Book Foundation, PEN American Center, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, Poets & Writers, Symphony Space, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and Urban Word NYC.
On November 15, Irish Arts Center (IAC) and St. Ann’s Warehouse will present Favorite Poems—In Tribute to Seamus Heaney, as part of the Center’s fifth annual IAC PoetryFest (cosponsored by the Poetry Society of America). Participants include actor Gabriel Byrne, playwright Enda Walsh, authors Alice McDermott and Colum McCann, and poets Colette Bryce, Henri Cole, Mark Doty, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Nick Laird, Conor O'Callaghan, Meghan O'Rourke, Brenda Shaughnessy, Matthew Sweeney, and Craig Morgan Teicher. The event will take place at 8:00 p.m. at St. Ann's Warehouse, 29 Jay Street, Brooklyn and is free and open to the public.
Other celebrations will be held on Monday, November 4, at 7 p.m. by the Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street, in New York City, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard University will commemorate Heaney on November 7 at 5:00 p.m. at Memorial Church.
Born on April 13, 1939, in Castledawson in Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney produced numerous collections of award-winning poetry and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He was a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, held the chair of Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1989 to 1994, and taught at Harvard University, where in 1984 he was elected the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory.
According to Jane Hirshfield, “In [Heaney’s] presence and in his words. . .you felt, quite simply, more alive for his aliveness, in life and on the page.”
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. For more than three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as Poets.org, the Academy’s popular website; National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. Since its founding in 1934, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization. For more information, visit www.poets.org or follow them on Twitter at @poetsorg.
About Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux was originally founded as Farrar, Straus and Company in 1946. The firm is renowned for its international list of literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books. FSG authors have won extraordinary acclaim over the years, including numerous National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and Nobel Prizes in Literature. Poetry has always played a pivotal role on the FSG list, whose poets include Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Derek Walcott, Louise Glück, Thom Gunn, and, participating in this evening’s program, Frank Bidart, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Paul Muldoon. FSG has published the work of Seamus Heaney in America since 1979. For more information, visit www.fsgbooks.com and subscribe to their weekly literary newsletter, Work in Progress, at www.fsgworkinprogress.com.
About Poets House
Poets House is a national 50,000-volume poetry library, literary center for adults and children, and exhibition space that invites poets and the public to step into the living tradition of poetry. Poets House—through its poetry resources, literary events, and archival and poetry-related visual art exhibitions—documents the wealth and diversity of modern poetry and stimulates public dialogue on issues related to poetry in culture. For more information, visit www.poetshouse.org and join them on Facebook and Twitter.
About Poetry Society of America
The Poetry Society of America, the nation’s oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910. Its mission is to build a larger and more diverse audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the vitality and breadth of poetry in the cultural conversation, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life. The PSA's signature program, Poetry in Motion®, engages millions of Americans with poetry on city transit systems. For years, the organization has introduced new poetic voices to the national literary landscape through its Chapbook Fellowships, as well as honoring and supporting poets at all stages of their careers through its rosters of Annual Awards. In addition, through strategic collaborations with selected educational and cultural institutions, we present over fifty public events annually in locations across the country.
About the Unterberg Poetry Center at 92nd Street Y
Founded in 1939, the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center celebrates the voice of literature with a renowned reading series, writing workshops and literary seminars, literacy-outreach programs, and Poetry Center Online, a website of archival recordings featuring the best writers of our time. Visit 92y.org/poetry for more information about this year’s special seventy-fifth-anniversary season.
About the Irish Arts Center
Founded in 1972, the Irish Arts Center is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the twenty-first century, building community with artists and audiences of all backgrounds, forging and strengthening cross-cultural partnerships, and preserving the evolving stories and traditions of Irish culture for generations to come. The 5th Annual Irish Arts Center PoetryFest, a celebration of Irish and North American poets curated by Belinda McKeon and Aengus Woods, will be held from November 15-17 at Irish Arts Center (553 West 51st Street, New York, NY). More information: www.irishartscenter.org.
About St. Ann’s Warehouse
For 33 years, St. Ann’s Warehouse has commissioned, produced, and presented a unique and eclectic body of innovative theatre and concert presentations that meet at the intersection of theatre and rock and roll. Since 2000, the organization has helped vitalize the Brooklyn Waterfront in DUMBO, where St. Ann’s Warehouse has become one of New York City’s most important and compelling live performance destinations. Through its signature multi-artist concerts and groundbreaking music and theatre collaborations, St. Ann’s continues to celebrate the panoramic traditions of American and world cultures, with forays into a variety of contemporary forms, including new commissions and multi-disciplinary theatrical presentations. Visit www.stannswarehouse.org for more information.
Contact: Stacy Lasner
Publicity & Outreach Coordinator
Academy of American Poets
[email protected]; (212) 274-0343, ext. 22