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Heaney Accepts New Post

Poet Will Return Every Other Year

By Geoffrey C. Upton

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney will leave his position as a professor in the English Department after the spring semester to become the poet in residence, Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles announced yesterday.

Heaney will give up his position as Boylston professor of rhetoric and oratory, a chair he has held since 1984, to become the first Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence.

Heaney will visit Harvard for six weeks every other year, with his first visit planned for the fall of 1998. He will lecture, give readings, serve as a consultant to the Woodberry Poetry Room and work with student poets. The specific capacity in which he will work with students has not yet been determined, according to the Harvard News Office.

"I am delighted that the long and inspiring association of Seamus Heaney with this Faculty and with our students will be maintained," Knowles said in a press release.

Heaney, 56, whose poetry addresses the religious strife between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the first Harvard professor ever awarded the literature prize, which carries an award of $1 million.

"Seamus had been contemplating various life changes, including his relationship with Harvard," University spokesperson Debra Bradley Ruder said. "Harvard very much wanted to maintain a continuing relationship with Seamus Heaney."

"We're thrilled that he has accepted this position and that we can con- tinue to maintain a fruitful association with him," she added.

Heaney's appointment is open-ended, Ruder said.

Although the position created for Heaney is new, poets Robert Frost and Robert Lowell have each held similar posts. Frost held the Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellowship in Poetry from 1939 to 1941, and Lowell was the Ralph Waldo Emerson Lecturer on English Literature from 1967 to 1977.

Harvard currently has no poets in residence.

The Boylston professorship which Heaney will vacate is one of the University's oldest and most distinguished chairs. The position was first occupied by John Quincy Adams in the early 1800s, and was later held by poets Archibald MacLeish and Robert Fitzgerald.

The professorship will be filled "in due time" and no candidates for the position have been announced, Ruder said

Heaney's appointment is open-ended, Ruder said.

Although the position created for Heaney is new, poets Robert Frost and Robert Lowell have each held similar posts. Frost held the Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellowship in Poetry from 1939 to 1941, and Lowell was the Ralph Waldo Emerson Lecturer on English Literature from 1967 to 1977.

Harvard currently has no poets in residence.

The Boylston professorship which Heaney will vacate is one of the University's oldest and most distinguished chairs. The position was first occupied by John Quincy Adams in the early 1800s, and was later held by poets Archibald MacLeish and Robert Fitzgerald.

The professorship will be filled "in due time" and no candidates for the position have been announced, Ruder said

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