Exclusive Seamus Heaney archive to be exhibited at Bellaghy centre

An exclusive collection of Seamus Heaney archive material is to go on display at the Co Derry museum dedicated to the Nobel Prize winning poet.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 4:29 pm

Curated over more than four decades by Bellaghy native Pat Brennan, this bespoke exhibition, entitled ‘Nostalgia in the Afternoon - From Gorgon to the New Yorker’, is a presentation of a range of magazines that Seamus Heaney contributed to from the earliest stages of his writing career, dating back to 1959.

From his days as a student at Queen’s University, Belfast, Seamus Heaney contributed to a wide range of magazines and periodicals. This area of publishing was of the upmost importance in Heaney’s development as a writer and helped him to find his poetic voice while expanding an audience and readership.

Over the years, the level of these contributions grew and were often used as a sounding board for early drafts of poems which were either kept ‘as is’ for collections, revised or, indeed, in some cases, never used again.

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Seamus Heaney.

This exhibition brings together these rare publications in a one-off showing, allowing visitors to see them displayed as a collective for the very first time. Each magazine featured within this exceptional exhibition is part of Bellaghy man Pat Brennan’s much loved and impressive collection of Seamus Heaney-related archived materials.

The exclusive exhibition has been curated by Pat Brennan himself, in conjunction with Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy. Pat and his family have been friends of the wider Heaney family for many years. In 1998, Seamus Heaney asked Pat to assist with his bibliography, being compiled by Dr. Rand Brandes, and he worked on this book, ‘Seamus Heaney: A

Bibliography 1959-2003’, for a number of years.

HomePlace Manager Brian McCormick says: “This exciting exhibition is a fantastic addition to HomePlace and our dedication to the life and literature of Seamus Heaney. The articles and features within each magazine give a deeper insight into the man himself and his long career from young writer to international poet. We are delighted to have worked with HomePlace friend Pat Brennan on this project and thank him for both his knowledge and invaluable materials.”

Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Co. Derry.

Speaking on behalf of the Heaney family, Catherine Heaney said: “Pat Brennan has been a great friend to our family over many years, and a devoted collector and scholar of my father’s work. This exhibition is testament to his passion for the poetry and has been curated with characteristic thought and care and the setting of the HomePlace could not be more fitting.”

Magazines included within this not to be missed exhibition include The Observer Magazine, Fortnight, The Linen Hall Review, The Sunday Times Culture, Irish Independent Weekend and more.

The exhibition will take place from April 28 to May 1 and is free of charge. However, pre-booking is necessary via the HomePlace website.

To celebrate the close of the exhibition, Pat Brennan will deliver a talk as the first event of the Spring/Summer Arts Programme at HomePlace. This event will take place on Sunday, May 1, and is priced at £10 per ticket.

Pat Brennan has described the development of this exhibition as “a wonderful experience”.

He added: “To include these precious magazines in an exhibition at Seamus Heaney HomePlace is a perfect way to continue to honour Seamus. I am delighted that visitors to Bellaghy will have this opportunity to see a different light to Seamus Heaney and his work. As a local man and a friend of Seamus’, I can see first-hand the impact HomePlace

has on its visitors and I’m delighted to contribute his poetic legacy.”

Tickets for this exhibition will be available at www.seamusheaneyhome.com or at the box office on Tel: 028 7938 7444. Check the website for details.