The Stairwell

by Michael Longley

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The Stairwell Synopsis

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014.

In The Stairwell, his tenth collection, Michael Longley's themes and forms reach a new intensity. The second part of the book is a powerful sequence of elegies for his twin brother, Peter, and the dominant mood elsewhere is elegiac. The title poem begins: 'I have been thinking about the music for my funeral ...' The two parts are also linked by Homer. Longley is well-known for his Homeric versions, and the Iliad is a presiding presence - both in poems about the Great War and in the range of imagery that gives his twin's death a mythic dimension. Yet funeral music can be life-affirming. Longley has built this collection on intricate doublings, not only when he explores the tensions of twinship. The psychologically suggestive word 'stairwell' is itself an ambiguous compound. These poems encompass birth as well as death, childhood and age, nature and art, the animal and human worlds, tenderness and violence, battlefield and 'homeland'.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780224101684
Publication date: 14th August 2014
Author: Michael Longley
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 80 pages
Primary Genre Poetry

What To Read After The Stairwell

Sunday at the Skin Launderette