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August 14, 2012 | By Christi Parsons, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- Nothing livens up a long road trip like a wisecrack about Seamus the dog. Inspired perhaps by his eight hours of driving the Iowa countryside this week, President Obama managed to work Seamus into a discussion of wind energy tax credits here on Tuesday. Seamus, of course, was Ann and Mitt Romney's family dog, the one they claim used to love being strapped in his carrier to the top of the car during vacation travel. The story has produced no end of ridicule from Democrats and inspired the organization of “Dogs for Obama.”  Obama has stayed away from teasing Romney on the subject, but on Tuesday he couldn't resist as he was interpreting the Romney critique of his energy policy for a farm crowd.
August 30, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON -- Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize-winning poet whose crystalline, descriptive verse led many to consider him the best Irish poet since Yeats, died Thursday. He was 74. His death was confirmed by his publishers, Faber and Faber, which said that it could not "adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers. His impact on literary culture is immeasurable. " The publishing house said in a statement issued on behalf of his family that Heaney died in a Dublin hospital after a short illness.
October 25, 1987 | Robert Mezey, Mezey's most recent book of verse is "Evening Wind" (Wesleyan University Press)
Seamus Heaney's admirers, who are legion, will welcome his new book warmly and will find in it much to admire. It is a characteristic book, both in its virtues and its defects. The virtues are considerable. Heaney commands a rich and various word-hoard, taking contagious delight in its multitude of shapes and sounds, and he has had from the beginning a gift for the accurate and vivid phrase. He enjoys the power of rime and meter and is capable of using them with effect.
August 30, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Seamus Heaney was already one of Ireland's best-known poets when the sectarian violence of "The Troubles" swept through Northern Ireland in the 1970s and '80s. An Irish Republican activist spotted him on a train and challenged Heaney to craft some words in support of the IRA fighters then waging a hunger strike in a British prison. Heaney declined. Instead he wrote dark verses about death drifting across the Irish landscape and a 1979 poem called "The Singer's House" that defended the right of art to exist for its own sake, even in times of war. "When I came here first you were always singing," Heaney wrote, in response to a friend's decision to cancel a music recording session after a Belfast bombing.
February 13, 2011 | By Carmela Ciuraru, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Dennis is known for his quiet lyricism, and his latest, "Callings" (Penguin: $18 paper), is similarly contemplative and restrained. Yet beneath their reticent surface, these poems brim with big questions about vocation, regret, identity and other issues, as in "Outdoor Café": No book or paper, and no expectation A friend will be joining me later on. Just the silent acceptance of life As it flows in the talk around me. With its constant questioning of what might have been and what's been lost, "Callings" is an apt poetic companion in these uncertain and anxious economic times.
May 19, 2002 | JOHN PALATTELLA, John Palattella writes about poetry for the London Review of Books, the Nation and Dissent.
Very late in his life, W.B. Yeats imagined himself in the Municipal Gallery of Dublin among paintings honoring the heroes of recent Irish history. "Around me the images of thirty years," the poet writes in "The Municipal Gallery Revisited," and after lingering among the portraits and the memories they evoke, he concludes, "Think where man's glory most begins and ends/And say my glory was I had such friends."
June 18, 2006 | Benjamin Lytal, Benjamin Lytal teaches at the Pratt Institute and writes fiction.
"WERE we not made for summer, shade and coolness / And gazing through an open door at sunlight? / For paradise lost?" So asked Seamus Heaney in his 2001 collection, "Electric Light." He views summer from the shade, from indoors, not just because it is cool, but because the shadows betoken the fall to come. He is that lover of nature who appreciates the whole package, from spring flower to moldy underbrush to arctic ice.
December 31, 2000
Editor's Note: After leaving China at the end of 1988, Bei Ling was named writer-in-residence at Brown University, and in 1994 he made his home in Boston, where he founded Tendency, one of the most important Chinese publications of literature and cultural criticism. In 1999, Bei Ling returned to China, and in August he was arrested and his magazine was confiscated. After an international protest was mounted on his behalf, he was released and expelled from the country.
October 9, 1992 | KIM SHANKMAN, Kim Shankman is an associate professor of politics and government at Ripon College in Wisconsin.
Imagine this scene, in the heart of the Kremlin, circa 1970: Ivan: Da, Dmitri, these Americans are too clever for us. All of our spies they find and send home. Dmitri: Do not worry, comrade--I have a plan. We will recruit one of these bright American students coming to visit our country. He will be a leader, and finally he will become President and turn their country over to us. Ivan: It will never happen. Those imperialist pigs will never vote for a socialist. Dmitri: No, no.
June 9, 1996 | RICHARD EDER
A dusty clump resembling a nettle grew near the rubbish heap behind Seamus Heaney's childhood home. It was mint, though. Its pungency: spelled promise And newness in the backyard of our life As if something callow yet tenacious Sauntered in green alleys and grew rife. "Mint" is one of many childhood recollections in Heaney's new collection, "The Spirit Level." His Irish farmhouse beginnings have been the launch point and beacon for a poetry that has gone immeasurably beyond them.
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