Love Poet, Carpenter

Love Poet, Carpenter : Michael Longley at Seventy

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Michael Longley once remarked, 'If I knew where poems came from, I'd go there'. In the forty years since his first book, "No Continuing City", Longley has shown he has been there, many times. This book is firstly a salute to a poet whose formal invention and lyrical depth are exemplary, but it is also an affectionate tribute by sixty writers, artists and friends to a man of great personal warmth and generosity - who has done so much for the arts in his native Ulster. Michael Longley has been acknowledged as one of our greatest living poets: Seamus Heaney describing him as 'a keeper of the artistic estate, a custodian of griefs and wonders' and John Burnside as 'one of the finest lyric poets of our century'. Longley is also a poet of variety and influence, working in a number of modes and excelling in all of them. As a war poet he links Homeric Greece to the Somme and the 'Troubles' - believing, as David Jones did, that all wars are, in essence, the same war. Similarly, as a nature poet, love poet and elegist, he is a celebrant of life in all its states and stages. Whether he is writing of his home city of Belfast or his second, adopted 'home' in Carrigskeewaun, Co. Mayo; whether it's of the 'heroic' dead of the Great War or the diminished dead of the ghettoes or the camps; whether he is describing a flight of birds or a wild flower, Michael Longley is always celebrating the gentleness, transience and beauty of life. As he says in the one-line poem "Lost": 'my lost lamb lovelier than all the wool'. This book, then, is a celebration of the celebrant.

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  • Hardback | 128 pages
  • 152 x 236 x 22mm | 458.13g
  • Enitharmon Press
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, port.
  • 1904634907
  • 9781904634904
  • 2,036,317

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About Fleur Adcock

Michael Longley, the Ireland Professor of Poetry, was born in Belfast in 1939 and educated the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. After reading classics at Trinity College, Dublin, he taught in schools in Belfast, Dublin and London. He joined the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1970, working in literature and the traditional arts as Combined Arts Director before taking early retirement from the post in 1991. He has published eight individual collections of poetry, including Gorse Fires (1991), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award, and The Weather in Japan (2000), which won the Hawthornden Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Irish Times Poetry Prize. His most recent collection is Snow Water (2004), for which he was awarded the Librex Montale Prize (Milan). In 2001 Longley received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 2003 the Wilfred Owen Award. His Collected Poems appeared in 2006. He and his wife, the critic Edna Longley, live and work in Belfast.

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