Villanova to finish literary festival with Irish flair

Could you use a little more culture in your life, or did St. Patrick’s Day leave you with a hankering for all things Irish? Do you simply enjoy good poetry?

On April 20 at 7 p.m., Villanova University will host an event that caters to all three of these appetites.

As the final event in the University’s months-long Literary Festival, Irish poets Seamus Heaney and Peter Fallon will read selections of their work.

When he was 18 years old, Fallon founded The Gallery Press, which has since blossomed into Ireland’s most highly regarded literary publishing house.  But his success as a publisher has not overshadowed his poetic achievements. 

In 1998, the Irish Times named Fallon’s “News of the World: Selected and New Poems” as one of its “Books of the Year.”

Heaney’s poetry collections have won him international acclaim and numerous awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 and the Golden Wreath of Struga Poetry Evenings (which, though you may not have heard of it before, is among the most prestigious of awards a poet can receive.)

Heaney is also very popular with readers. His followers have been nicknamed “Heaneyboppers” for their fanaticism. 

Eastern’s Dr. Christopher Bittenbender, chairperson of the English department and something of a Heaneybopper himself, has called Heaney “the rock star of the poetry world.”

“(Heaney) offers vivid, transcendental observations of the natural world in general and about the particular and local culture of Ireland,” Bittenbender said.

For tickets to this event, students should contact Bittenbender or the English department at Villanova.  The cost is $10 and tickets must be purchased in advance.