San Francisco, CA 94104
While in actuality quite pragmatic, the title of tonight's Mechanics Institute event, Seamus Heaney: The Berkeley Days, seems to exude an impish whiff, as if auguring some chronicle of legendary debauchery. Maybe it's because Heaney always was and forever will be the great poetry rock star. When he died in August, at age 74, the Internet seemed suddenly to fill up not just with Heaney's written lines, but also with videos of the Irish Nobel Prize-winner reading his own work: that great true language perfectly delivered with that great true lilt. In 1970 he spent a year at UC Berkeley as a visiting professor, and later fondly recalled "the nurture that came from new friendships and a vivid environment." He also fondly recalled a favorite view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from within the Berkeley hills, and with it the "huge sense of the wonder of what man and woman have built." In tonight's commemoration, by the aforementioned nurturing friends and other admirers of his work, Heaney himself will be the wonder fondly recalled.