Michael Longley

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Michael Longley

Michael Longley reading his poetry at the Corrymeela Peace Center in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, July 2012
Michael Longley reading his poetry at the Corrymeela Peace Center in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, July 2012
Born (1939-07-27) 27 July 1939 (age 81)
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
EducationRoyal Belfast Academical Institution
Alma materTrinity College, Dublin
Notable awardsWhitbread Poetry Prize
T. S. Eliot Prize
Hawthornden Prize

Michael Longley, CBE (born 27 July 1939, Belfast, Northern Ireland) is an Anglo-Irish poet.

Life and career[edit]

Michael Longley was born in Belfast to English parents, Longley was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and subsequently read Classics at Trinity College, Dublin, where he edited Icarus. He was the Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2007-10, a cross-border academic post set up in 1998, previously held by John Montague, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and Paul Durcan. He was succeeded in 2010 by Harry Clifton.[1] North American editions of Longley's work are published by Wake Forest University Press.

Over 50 years he has spent much time in Carrigskeewaun, County Mayo, which has inspired much of his poetry.[2]

His wife, Edna, is a critic on modern Irish and British poetry.[3] They have three children. Their daughter is artist Sarah Longley. An atheist, Longley describes himself as a "sentimental" disbeliever.[4]

On 14 January 2014, he participated in the BBC Radio 3 series The Essay – Letters to a Young Poet. Taking Rainer Maria Rilke's classic text Letters to a Young Poet as inspiration, leading poets wrote a letter to a protege.[5] Longley has provided readings of his poetry for the Irish Poetry Reading Archive (UCD).

Awards and honours[edit]

Gorse Fires (1991) won the Whitbread Poetry Prize. The Weather in Japan (2000) won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Hawthornden Prize.[6] It also brought him the inaugural Yakamochi Medal in 2018.[7]He holds honorary doctorates from Queen's University Belfast (1995) and Trinity College, Dublin (1999) and was the 2001 recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.[8]Longley was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[9]

Longley won a 2011 London Awards for Art and Performance. His collection A Hundred Doors won the Poetry Now Award in September 2012.[10]

His 2014 collection, The Stairwell, won the 2015 International Griffin Poetry Prize.[11] In 2015, he received the Ulster Tatler Lifetime Achievement Award.[12] He was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize in 2017. The Chair of the judges, Don Paterson, said: "For decades now his effortlessly lyric and fluent poetry has been wholly suffused with the qualities of humanity, humility and compassion, never shying away from the moral complexity that comes from seeing both sides of an argument."[13]

In 2015 Longley was elected a Freeman of the City of Belfast.[14]

List of works[edit]

Michael Longley reading his poetry at the Corrymeela Peace Center in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, July 2012
  • Ten Poems (1965)
  • Secret Marriages: Nine Short Poems (1968)
  • No Continuing City (1969)
  • Lares (1972)
  • An Exploded View (1973)
  • Fishing in the Sky: Love Poems (1975)
  • Man Lying on a Wall (1976)
  • The Echo Gate (1979)
  • Patchwork (1981)
  • Selected Poems 1963–1983 (1985)
  • Selected Poems 1963–1980 (1981)
  • Gorse Fires (1991)
  • Baucis and Philemon: After Ovid (1993)
  • Birds and Flowers: Poems (1994)
  • Tuppeny Stung: Autobiographical Chapters (1994)
  • The Ghost Orchid (1995)
  • Ship of the Wind (1997)
  • Broken Dishes (1998)
  • Selected Poems (1998)
  • The Weather in Japan (2000)
  • Snow Water (2004)
  • Collected Poems (2006)
  • "A Jovial Hullabaloo" (2008)
  • A Hundred Doors (2011)
  • The Stairwell (2014)
  • "Sea Asters" (2015) published by Andrew J Moorhouse – Fine Press Poetry
  • "The Dipper's Range" (2016) published by Andrew J Moorhouse – Fine Press Poetry
  • Twelve Poems (Clutag Press, 2016)
  • "Angel Hill" (2017) - Cape poetry
  • "Sidelines: Selected Prose" (2017) [1]
  • "Ghetto" (2019) published by Andrew J Moorhouse – Fine Press Poetry [2]
  • The Candlelight Master (2020)
  • "Homer's Octopus" (2020) published by Andrew J Moorhouse – Fine Press Poetry

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Longley new professor of poetry", bbc.co.uk; accessed 26 July 2020.
  2. ^ "An imagination nourished by the landscape of the west". www.irishtimes.com. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  3. ^ Wake Forest University Press Archived 10 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Michael Longley's reverence for the living and the dead is as evident as ever", theguardian.com; accessed 26 July 2020.
  5. ^ "The Essay – Letters to a Young Poet", bbc.co.uk; accessed 26 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Michael Longley". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2020.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ "Ist Yakamochi Medal Award Decision". www.koshibun.jp. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Medal crowns Belfast poet's renaissance". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  9. ^ "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 7.
  10. ^ "Michael Longley wins €5,000 poetry prize", The Irish Times, 8 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Michael Longley wins Griffin International Poetry Prize". www.irishtimes.com. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Poet Michael Longley's lifetime achievement gong at Ulster Tatler awards". www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Michael Longley wins PEN Pinter Prize for unflinching unswerving poetry". www.guardian.com. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  14. ^ Publisher's note Angel Hill.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allen, Michael, ed. Options: The Poetry of Michael Longley, Éire-Ireland 10.4 (1975): pp. 129–35.
  • Allen Randolph, Jody. "Michael Longley, February 2010". Close to the Next Moment: Interviews from a Changing Ireland. Manchester: Carcanet, 2010.
  • Allen Randolph, Jody and Douglas Archibald, eds. Special Issue on Michael Longley. Colby Quarterly 39.3 (September 2003).
  • Brearton, Fran. Reading Michael Longley. Bloodaxe, 2006.
  • Clyde, Tom, ed. Special Issue on Michael Longley. Honest Ulsterman 110 (Summer 2001).
  • Peacock, Alan J. and Kathleen Devine, eds. The Poetry of Michael Longley: Ulster Editions and Monographs 10. Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, England: Colin Smythe, 2000.
  • Robertson, Robin, ed. Love Poet, Carpenter: Michael Longley at Seventy. London: Enitharmon Press, 2009.
  • Russell, Richard Rankin. Poetry and Peace: Michael Longley, Seamus Heaney, and Northern Ireland. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.

External links[edit]