Sad news for the poetry world today; the death of Seamus Heaney. Heaney was also from Northern Ireland (depending on what way you look at it – after all, some would say he was born in Derry and others would say Londonderry, but I’m not about to argue semantics). I haven’t read that much of his work, although my favourite poem so far is ‘The Early Purges’, which when written I’m sure wasn’t as controversial as it might be perceived today – we now live in a politically correct culture that on the one hand is good (equality for all, right?), but on the flip side has choked the freedom of expression out of cinema/literature, to some extent. I could digress in a million different directions with all this, but let’s stick to the poem for now – animals being drowned in rivers and people turning a blind eye. You can’t say it’s not gritty.

There are many writers and poets from Northern Ireland, but Seamus Heaney is probably the most famous. Northern Irish people in general definitely have a sardonic sense of humour – from chip shops called ‘For Cod and Ulster’ to the new Titanic Museum’s slogan, “She was alright when she left here”:

Titanic slogan in Belfast

Anyway, back to famous figures from Northern Ireland dying today, on August 30. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Jenny the elephant from Belfast Zoo has also died, aged 53. Not quite the ripe old age of 74, but then I don’t know how elephant years correspond to human years. I’m sure Seamus Heaney would be proud to know that – I would. Or maybe not. Check out his poem, ‘The Early Purges‘ and see what you think.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

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