Sunday, March 22, 2009

lifetime honour collects Seamus Heaney

Irish poet Seamus Heaney gain David Cohen Prize for Literature.
The £40,000 award, given to a writer from the British Isles, was presented by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion at a ceremony in London.

The 69-year-old, whose first collection of poems appeared in 1966, said it was "a lovely reward".

Past winners include fellow Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing.

Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in 1995, paid tribute to previous recipients, calling them "a roll call of the best".

"There's the fact that you don't enter for it but are chosen from the wide field of your contemporaries," he added.
Motion called Heaney a "venerated public figure", with a "reputation is so exalted judging panels might be expected to feel some trepidation about bestowing another prize on him".

"But the self-renewing force of his writing, and the sheer scale of his achievement make the award an absolutely right and proper act of recognition," he added.

As the winner of the Cohen Prize, Heaney has chosen an organisation supporting young writers to receive the £12,500 Clarissa Luard Award.

About Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney was born in April 1939, the eldest member of a family which would eventually contain nine children. His father owned and worked a small farm of some fifty acres in County Derry in Northern Ireland, but the father's real commitment was to cattle-dealing. There was something very congenial to Patrick Heaney about the cattle-dealer's way of life to which he was introduced by the uncles who had cared for him after the early death of his own parents. The poet's mother came from a family called McCann whose connections were more with the modern world than with the traditional rural economy; her uncles and relations were employed in the local linen mill and an aunt had worked "in service" to the mill owners' family. The poet has commented on the fact that his parentage thus contains both the Ireland of the cattle-herding Gaelic past and the Ulster of the Industrial Revolution; indeed, he considers this to have been a significant tension in his background, something which corresponds to another inner tension also inherited from his parents, namely that between speech and silence. His father was notably sparing of talk and his mother notably ready to speak out, a circumstance which Seamus Heaney believes to have been fundamental to the "quarrel with himself" out of which his poetry arises.

Heaney grew up as a country boy and attended the local primary school. As a very young child, he watched American soldiers on manoeuvres in the local fields, in preparation for the Normandy invasion of 1944. They were stationed at an aerodrome which had been built a mile or so from his home and once again Heaney has taken this image of himself as a consciousness poised between "history and ignorance" as representative of the nature of his poetic life and development. Even though his family left the farm where he was reared (it was called Mossbawn) in 1953, and even though his life since then has been a series of moves farther and farther away from his birthplace, the departures have been more geographical than psychological: rural County Derry is the "country of the mind" where much of Heaney's poetry is still grounded.

When he was twelve years of age, Seamus Heaney won a scholarship to St. Columb's College, a Catholic boarding school situated in the city of Derry, forty miles away from the home farm, and this first departure from Mossbawn was the decisive one. It would be followed in years to come by a transfer to Belfast where he lived between 1957 and 1972, and by another move from Belfast to the Irish Republic where Heaney has made his home, and then, since 1982, by regular, annual periods of teaching in America. All of these subsequent shifts and developments were dependent, however, upon that original journey from Mossbawn which the poet has described as a removal from "the earth of farm labour to the heaven of education." It is not surprising, then, that this move has turned out to be a recurrent theme in his work, from "Digging", the first poem in his first book, through the much more orchestrated treatment of it in "Alphabets"(The Haw Lantern, 1987), to its most recent appearance in "A Sofa in the Forties" which was published this year in The Spirit Level.

Factors are personal characteristics and evolutionary explanations.

Explanations connecting to Interpersonal Attraction.
Personal uniqueness
It has been found that physical good looks is probably the most vital factor right at the beginning of the relationship, as we do not have anything else on which to base our judgement of the person in question. If a person is physically gorgeous, we automatically expect them to have other positive attributes. This is called the halo effect, and explains why we are more likely to be attracted to physically attractive people. This has been shown in a study where photographs were attached to students essays when the teachers were marking them. It was seen that the more attractive students did indeed score much higher on the essays than the unattractive ones.
Though it may seem that everyone would try to get the most attractive partner possible, this may not be the case. Walster proposed something called the matching theory, and suggested that we pick a partner based on our own level of attractiveness.
Although personality is not the most important thing at the beginning of a relationship, it is one of the most important factors after the initial judgement has taken place. Different countries value different personalities as being attractive, for instance UK and US cultures value independence and extroversion, whereas eastern cultures prefer introversion.

As well as this, the traits that we see attractive at the beginning of a relationship, such as predictability, may become boring late on in the relationship, and may cause issues within the couple.

Evolutionary Explanations

It has been found that women seek partners who can agree them economic constancy, because of the high level of physical investment they put into having children. Because they spend nine months carrying the child, they want to make sure that there is money available to care for the child when it is born.

Men on the other hand have an almost endless reproductive capability, so their level of initial parental investment is low. Because of this, they will search for women who are attractive and will be able to give them healthy, ‘good quality’ offspring. Traits which could show good reproductive qualities are youthfulness in general, and also symmetry of facial features.

This has been shown in newspaper ads, where men would search for a youthful mate 42% of the time, in comparison to the 25% of females who searched for this. Also, 44% of men search for a physically attractive partner, in comparison to the 22% of females.