The Tree Bit

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Tree Bit' page

A Talk on Trees and Woodlands in Seamus Heaneys Poetry

An Illustrated talk by Donal Magner at Ashford Community & Heritage Centre as part of The Hedge School of Glanmore.

8.00 pm Wednesday 24th June 2015 

The title of this talk is taken from a section of a foreword by Seamus Heaney for the  Sculpture in Woodland catalogue in 2004

No bit of the natural world is more valuable or more vulnerable than the tree bit.  Nothing is more like ourselves, standing upright, caught between heaven and earth, frail at the extremities yet strong at the central trunk; and nothing is closer to us at the beginning and at the end, providing the timber boards that frame both the cradle and the coffin.

 Heaney is the first Irish poet to place trees at the centre of many major works. While Yeats produced 'tree theme' works such as  ‘In the Seven Woods’ and the opening poem of ‘Shadowy Waters’, Heaney continuously returned to trees not just as a backdrop but as an intrinsic element of poems such as ‘Exposure’. 

 Donal Magner explores Heaney’s approach to trees and woodlands, which began in earnest when he took up residence in Glanmore, Ashford on the edge of Coillte’s Devil’s Glen Wood. Here he began translating ‘Buile Suibhne’ or ‘Mad Sweeney’ with its role-call of trees and where he wrote the ‘Glanmore Sonnets’ and other works.

 The Hedge School of Glanmore, the new Ashford Community & Heritage Centre is a fitting venue for this talk and those who wish to come early can see the marvellous Seamus Heaney exhibition of manuscripts, first editions and other items generously donated by the Heaney family.

 Everyone welcome – admission free

 Donal Magner is a forestry consultant and forestry editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. He isthe author of the critically acclaimed Stopping by Woods – A Guide to the Forests and Woodlands of Ireland and co-author and editor of a number of publications including Woodspec – A Guide to Designing, Detailing and Specifying Timber in Ireland and  Devil’s Glen: Sculpture in Woodland with a foreword by Seamus Heaney. He holds a Masters Degree in forestry from University College Dublin and in 2012, he received the Royal Dublin Society-Forest Service Judges Award for his contribution to Irish forestry.

This page was added by Deirdre Burns on 18/06/2015.

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