Tyrone homecoming for deceased poet

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The remains of the Tyrone poet John Montague, who died in Nice early on Saturday, will be flown from Nice to Dublin, and then brought to his native Garvaghey for a private burial.

Montague, who was 87, had undergone elective surgery for a knotted colon at the Clinique du Parc Impérial in Nice. He was put on life support on December 9th, after developing a fever.

Montague, who was the first Ireland professor of poetry, published more than 30 books of poetry, essays and short stories, including Collected Poems in 1995 and New Collected Poems in 2012. In 2010, he was made a Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur, France’s highest civil award.

The Arts Council of Ireland said his death is a “true loss to Irish literature”.

Born in New York in 1929, he was sent to live with relatives in Garvaghey as a young child.

Educated in Armagh and Dublin, he returned to the USA to write and study, teaching at Berkeley university in California in the late 60s.

Leading the tributes, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said the death of John Montague “represents another great loss to Irish letters, a further break with a rich body of work that was the gift of poets and dramatists, to Ulster, Ireland and the world. His wry, self-deprecating company, his humour, his openness to opposite opinions, will be missed by all of us who were privileged to be his friends – and so many were.”