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Michael Longley Biography

(1939– ), Ten Poems, No Continuing City, An Exploded View, Man Lying on a Wall

poems northern ireland belfast

Northern Irish poet, born in Belfast, educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He became Director for Literature and the Traditional Arts with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1970. His first publication of note was Ten Poems (1965), which appeared during the Belfast Festival of 1965 with pamphlets by Seamus Heaney and Derek Mahon, marking the emergence of Ulster poetry. His collections of verse include No Continuing City (1969), An Exploded View (1973), Man Lying on a Wall (1976), The Echo Gate (1979), Poems 1963–1983 (1985), Gorse Fires (1991), and Ghost Orchid (1995). Longley's work displays a high degree of technical assurance in a wide variety of forms. His thematic range extends from harrowingly direct responses to sectarian strife in Northern Ireland to richly detailed treatments of remote natural environments, often in the far west of Ireland. His many poems on birds and animals achieve an emblematic power through their poise and clarity of description. A phantasmagorically imaginative quality is apparent in a number of his most memorable poems, which include the serenely disquieting view beyond death of ‘Obsequies’. Among the books Longley has edited are Louis MacNeice's Selected Poems (1988).

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