Skip to main content

Cambridge University Libraries are providing a blend of online and controlled in-person services. Please see our website for more details.

Seamus Heaney, 1968-2010 and undated

Reference Code: GBR/1058/COO/1

Scope and Contents

From the Fonds:

The collection consists of correspondence, poetry and prose received by Barrie Cooke and original artwork produced by him. The principal correspondents are Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Jean Valentine and John Montage, and their letters along with their poetry and prose are to be found in the archive. There is also a large series of correspondence from poets and artists resident in Ireland, the United Kingdom and America, often consisting of just 1 or 2 letters from each correspondent but showing Cooke's wide circle of friends and interests.


  • 1968-2010 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

The Seamus Heaney material is open for consultation but photographs may not be taken without the permission of the Seamus Heaney Estate. Those wishing to publish any material that is the copyright of the Seamus Heaney Estate should seek permission from the Estate prior to publication. The Archivist can provide further information and contact details for the Estate.

Biographical / Historical

Born in 1939 in County Derry, in Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney would go on to become a world-renowned poet, playwright and translator. He attended Queen’s University in Belfast, before training as a teacher at St. Joseph's Teacher Training College in Belfast. He married Marie Devlin in 1965 while he was at St. Joseph’s and they would go on to have 3 children: Michael, Christopher and Catherine. Heaney taught for several years in Belfast and was a visiting professor in English at the University of California, Berkeley for 1970-1971. The following year, in 1972, he moved to Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland, and began writing on a full-time basis. In 1976 he and his family moved to Dublin, where he would stay for the rest of his life, bar short periods in the USA. He was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric at Harvard from 1984-1995 and Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1989-1994. He received the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature and has been described as "the greatest poet of our age". Heaney was one of Cooke's closest friends, with their shared interest in lakes, water and the natural world, as well as poetry and visual art.


1.5 archive box(es)

Related Materials

See also GBR/1058/COO/3/2/12, 17, 20, material relating to John Montague; GBR/1058/COO/4/2/5, 16, material relating to Jean Valentine; GBR/1058/COO/2/4/3 and GBR/1058/COOO/5/18, material relating to Dennis O'Driscoll; GBR/1058/COO/5/26/2, material relating to Tess Gallagher; GBR/1058/COO/5/52, material relating to Medbh McGukian; and GBR/1058/COO/5/58/2, material relating to Richard Murphy. Heaney visited Cooke and Valentine in 1990 and his entry in their guestbook can be seen at GBR/1058/COO/8/5.

Repository Details

Part of the Pembroke College Library Repository

Pembroke College
Cambridge CB2 1RF United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 764151