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Seamus Heaney (Photograph by John Minihan)
Arts Lives RTÉ One, Tuesday, 10.15pm

Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous

Tuesday 14th April, 2009

Made with Seamus Heaney's unprecedented collaboration, this feature-length documentary is both intimate and all-embracing, a fresh and original look at the man and artist, one of the greatest English-language poets of his generation.

Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous explores the key personal relationship in Heaney's life, that with his wife Marie, through a fascinating interview with both of them. It also follows Heaney to Harvard, New York and London, to readings, signings and public interviews, encountering friends and colleagues such as writer and fellow Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, Pulitzer prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, American critic Helen Vendler and Stephen Page, Chief Executive of Faber and Faber. These encounters reveal not only Heaney's gift for friendship and collegiality but also give many compelling insights into the working life of a major writer.

Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous digs deep into the rich store of Heaney's poetry to reveal key periods in his life: the raw pastoral of his childhood in Mossbawn, County Derry, his struggle to respond creatively to the political realities in Northern Ireland, the responsibilities of parenthood, the excitements of erotic love and the brutal realities of bereavement.

This film captures the sense of a man who has lived his life fully, who has used his gifts to give expression to the great themes in all our lives of love, loss and longing; and who has managed as a man and as a writer to combine the simplicity of a farmer's son from County Derry with the sophistication of a major artist.

Director: Charlie McCarthy
Producer: Clíona Ní Bhuachalla

For Seamus Heaney's 70th birthday, RTÉ Radio has produced a landmark 15-CD box set of the poet reading his own Collected Poems, as well as a wide range of special programmes. RTÉ Television will broadcast Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous, and RTÉ Performing Groups has commissioned new music from three of Ireland's leading composers. Visit the RTÉ Heaney At 70 website for more information.
Kilfenora Ceili Band 1955
Seamus Heaney (Photograph by John Minihan)