Seamus Heaney discusses his lifetime achievement award


First aired on As It Happens (8/6/12)

In accepting the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry on Wednesday, June 6, Seamus Heaney described himself as a man who "dabbles in verses." But fans of the Irish poet know he's much more than that.

The award is just one of many honours he's garnered over the years -- including the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature. And last year his latest poetry collection, entitled Human Chain, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Heaney was thrilled and humbled to accept the lifetime recognition award, as the prestigious prize is a personal passion project of the couple who established it in 2000, Scott and Krystyne Griffin.

"Scott and Krystyne Griffin personally made an immense contribution," Heaney told As It Happens guest host Jim Brown. And the prize is associated with two of Canada's greatest literary luminaries. Trustees of the Griffin Prize include Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. "It gives a verity to it, I tell you."

The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry also honoured Toronto-based Ken Babstock and British poet David Harsent, who won the Canadian award and international award, respectively.

Related links: