Belfast Telegraph

Tragedy of Seamus Heaney's brother explored in poetry day

By Staff Reporter

The death of poet Seamus Heaney's younger brother in a tragic accident that inspired one of his best-known works is set to be explored as part of National Poetry Day.

HomePlace, the newly-opened literary centre dedicated to the work of the Nobel Laureate, will stage three days of Heaney-related events from October 7 to 9.

Inspired by Death of a Naturalist, Heaney's first published collection of poems, the weekend's programme features compelling classical music, as well appearances by two award-winning authors.

There's a particular emphasis at the Bellaghy venue on 'Mid-Term Break', one of Heaney's most popular works.

It commemorates the death of his younger brother Christopher, with explorations of loss and grief in words, music and song.

Christopher was killed by a car aged four in 1953, and Heaney was buried beside him in the graveyard at St Mary's Parish Church. The Meccore String Quartet explore the sombre theme over the course of the weekend, bringing the moving song cycle of Mahler's 'Die Kindertotenlieder' (Songs on the Death of Children) with the mezzo-soprano Sara Fulgoni to the stage on both the Friday and Saturday.

The Polish quartet will also give a recital of Death and the Maiden, Schubert's great testament to death and one of the Nobel Laureate's favourite works.

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