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Snow Water by Michael Longley


Snow Water by Michael Longley

The poems collected in Snow Water find their gravity and centre in Michael Longley's adopted home in west Mayo, but range widely in their attention - from ancient Greece to Paris and Pisa, from Central Park to the trenches of the Somme. Meditations on nature and mortality, there is a depth and delicacy to these poems, a state of lucid wonder, that allows for the easy companionship of love poem and elegy, hymns to marriage and friendship and lyric explorations of loss. Though the embodiment of these themes is often found in the wildlife of Carrigskeewaun and Allaran Point - the plovers and oystercatchers, whooper swans and snow geese, the hares and otters, the marsh marigolds and yellow flags - Snow Water is emphatically a celebration of humanity. These are all, in a way, poems of love and kinship - even the magnificent sequence that links the horrors of the Great War with those of the Trojan War, and with all the wars between. What Longley says of Edward Thomas might easily be said of him: 'The nature poet turned into a war poet as if/ He could cure death with the rub of a dock leaf'. Full of intensity and grace, tenderness and wisdom, these are poems of deceptive simplicity from a craftsman of international stature.


His work indicates one of the gifts of the major poet, of making the one life speak for all, and its corollary, of seeming to be able to speak to anyone -- Sean O'Brien Michael Longley's affectionate metre, his clean-cut and lucid measure, is one of the most distinguished accomplishments in contemporary poetry -- Douglas Dunn A keeper of the artistic estate, a custodian of grief and wonders -- Seamus Heaney

About the Author

Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939 and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College Dublin where he read Classics. He has published nine 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 Collected Poems was published in 2006. In 2001 he received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 2003 the Wilfred Owen Award. He was awarded a CBE in 2010. He was Ireland Professor of Poetry, 2007-2010. He and his wife, the critic Edna Longley, live and work in Belfast.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th March 2004


Michael Longley

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Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing


80 pages


Literary studies: poetry & poets
Literary studies: from c 1900 -
Poetry by individual poets



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