Poetry Weekend Set for Seamus Heaney HomePlace

Bellaghy's newly opened literary centre will follow this year's national celebration with three days of classical music, talks and recitals

Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the newly opened literary centre in Bellaghy, will make a weekend out of this year’s National Poetry Day, staging three days of events from Friday 7 to Sunday, October 9.

Taking Seamus Heaney’s first published collection Death of a Naturalist as inspiration, the weekend’s programme features compelling classical music, as well as two award-winning authors.

Over the course of the weekend, there is a particular emphasis on one of Heaney’s most popular works, ‘Mid-Term Break’, which commemorates the death of his younger brother Christopher, with explorations of loss and grief in words, music and song.

The up-and-coming Polish ensemble The Meccore String Quartet make no fewer than four appearances throughout the three days, bringing the moving song cycle of Mahler’s ‘Die Kindertotenlieder’, with the mezzo-sorprano Sara Fulgoni to the stage on both Friday and Saturday.

The sound of strings will also be heard in a relaxed mid-morning recital by the quartet, featuring Death and the Maiden, Schubert’s great testament to death and one of Seamus Heaney’s favourite works.

And the four young men will also be central to one of the weekend’s more unusual events which takes audiences out of HomePlace and into sacred space for ‘The Play Way’ in four different churches where they will hear the Heaney poem and TS Eliot’s ‘The Four Quartets’, both inspired by Beethoven.

Award-winning novelist and poet Michel Faber, whose acclaimed new poetry collection Undying: A Love Story confronts the loss of his wife Eva, who died of cancer in 2014, will also be in HomePlace. Faber will talk about his work, and consider the challenges faced by artists like Heaney and himself in translating grief into art.

John Bowman, one of Ireland’s best-known broadcasters and historians, will us provide a sneak peek of his book Ireland: The Autobiography ahead of its publication. Drawing on a remarkable new anthology, this event which takes place on Saturday, October 8 aims to provide an evocative sense of the world into which the young Heaney was born in 1939.

For further information about the first season’s events programme at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com or call 028 7938 7444.