On the Passing of Seamus Heaney

[Originally posted on August 30, 2013 by David Sheppard]

I was saddened today by the news that Seamus Heaney passed away. Although I never met the man, I had read quite a lot of his poetry, and it seems he’d read a little of mine.
In 1987, I submitted a poem to the Arvon International Poetry Competition, which Seamus Heaney (Nobel Prize in Literature 1995) and Ted Hughes (1930-1998) would judge. In March 1988, I received a notification from David Pease, the Competition Organizer, that my poem “Walking Away” had been selected for the Competition Anthology.

Arvon International Poetry Completition – 1987 Anthology

Arvon International Poetry Completition – 1987 Anthology

I was elated. I had never seen one of my poems in print, and the blind competition had put my poetry on a level playing field with the other  20,000 entrants. Mine was one of 78 selected for publication. Here’s the letter from Mr. Pease informing me of the pending publication of my poem:

ArvonNotice800

Notification of Selection from Arvon Foundation – International Poetry Competition – David Pease

Patricia Storace, the poetry editor at The Paris Review also selected “Walking Away” for publication in the US, and it appears in Issue 118, published in Spring 1991.

Paris Review Acceptance Notice from Patricia Storace

Paris Review Acceptance Notice from Patricia Storace

Here’s my poem “Walking Away” as it appeared in the Arvon International Poetry Competition 1987 Anthology. The authors of the poems were listed next to the titles at the end of the Anthology:
Page 1:

“Walking Away” by David Sheppard – page 1

“Walking Away” by David Sheppard – page 1

Page 2:

“Walking Away” by David Sheppard – page 2

“Walking Away” by David Sheppard – page 2

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