After His Voice
Last autumn when Seamus Heaney read at Cornell University, he ended by reciting (from his enviable translation) the closing passage of Beowulf. He did so in tribute to the Irish American namesake of the reading series, Eamon McEneaney, killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Mr. McEneaney was quietly one of the world’s unacknowledged legislators, a poet Mr. Heaney’s homage acknowledged as a hero, like Beowulf, but in the “soft-gradient, vowel-meadow” of Mr. Heaney’s accent, Mr. McEneaney was consecrated as a friend and brother.
"Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons. These are formidable problems for writers living under Fascism, but they exist also for those writers who have fled or been exiled; they exist even for writers working in countries where civil liberty prevails.”
—from “Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties" (1935) by Bertolt Brecht