Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun. - from 'Digging'. With its lyrical and descriptive powers, Death of a Naturalist marked the auspicious debut of one of the century's finest poets.
Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection, appeared in 1966, and since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations which have established him as one of the leading poets of his generation. He has twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year, for The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999). In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. District and Circle, his eleventh collection of poems, was published in 2006 and was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize.