Visitors to Ellman Lectures can enjoy highlights from Seamus Heaney exhibit in Ireland

Visitors who attend the 2024 Ellmann Lectures March 3-5 at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts can also enjoy the traveling version of the National Library of Ireland’s acclaimed exhibition “Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again.”

Seamus Heaney is pictured at his last poetry reading at Glenn Memorial Auditorium in 2013. Credit: Emory Photo/Video.

The exhibit, located in the Center’s Chace Gallery, will run March 3–April 14, 2024, and is free and open Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and during public events. It offers a taste of the Dublin exhibition with panels and photographs from “Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again.”

Related materials from Emory’s Heaney collection will be on view through April 2024 in the Rose Library, on the 10th floor of the Woodruff Library, featuring items such as archival materials about Heaney’s inaugural Ellmann Lecture and the poet’s desk on display in the reading room in the Rose Library.

Exhibit curator Geraldine Higgins, associate professor of English and director of the Irish Studies Program at Emory, has been the director of the Richard Ellmann Lectures since 2017. She is also the curator of the exhibition in Dublin, Ireland, which opened in 2018 and will move to its permanent home in the NLI in 2025.

Heaney with Geraldine Higgins, director of Irish Studies at Emory University and curator of several Heaney exhibitions at Emory and in Ireland, during his last visit to Emory in 2013. Photo courtesy Geraldine Higgins.

Higgins says the traveling exhibit ties in well with this year’s Ellmann Lectures, which honor of the 10th anniversary of Heaney’s death, who passed away in August 2013. This year’s distinguished speakers, American poet Natasha Trethewey and Irish writer Fintan O’Toole, have strong scholarly ties to Heaney and will lecture on the theme of “Writing Lives,” considering the relationship between art, life, and writing in various forms and contexts.

Heaney, a Noble Laureate in poetry, gave the inaugural Ellmann lectures in 1988 and donated his lecture notes to the Rose Library, helping the library’s Irish literary collections to flourish into a renowned archive holding the papers of multiple Irish authors.

“With this exhibit, I hope people will get a sense of the strong connections between Seamus Heaney, Ireland, and Emory, and be inspired to explore the amazing archives in the Rose Library, and to visit the “Listen Now Again” exhibition if they’re ever in Dublin,” Higgins says.

—by Maureen McGavin, senior writer, Emory Libraries