Michael Longley

Michael Longley

About Michael Longley

Michael Longley is an Anglo-Irish poet. In 1958, He began studying Classics at Trinity College Dublin, after which he worked as a teacher in Dublin, London and Belfast. In Belfast in 1964 he came into contact with The Belfast Group, an informal circle of poets that also included Seamus Heaney and Derek Mahon at the time. In 1969 he published his first volume of poetry. He has also written for BBC radio, the literary magazine Encounter and the satirical magazine The Phoenix. He teaches in various schools in Belfast and London and in 1970 he became director of the Ulster Council of the Arts and held the post until 1991, the year of his retirement. In 2001 he received the gold medal for poetry from the Queen of England.
He published his first collection of poetry, No Continuing City: Poems 1963-1968 in 1969 and during the seventies, cause of the war, he managed to publish three other collections: An Exploded View in 1973, Man Lying on a Wall in 1976 and The Echo Gate: Poems 1975-1979 in 1980. Between 1991 and 2004, Longley publishes four more collections of verses that have earned him many awards, both in ireland and abroad. In 1991 he received the Gorse Fires of Whitbreadper prize for poetry, in 2000 the Hawthornden Prize and later the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Belfast Arts Prize for literature as well as the Librex Montale Prize in 2005.
His poetry shows influences of classical metrics and classical mythology, but has a historical or contemporary reference. Favorite subjects are nature and the Northern Ireland conflict. He received in 1991 the Whitbread Poetry Award, in 2000 the Hawthornden Prize, and in 2001 the T.S. Eliot Prize and Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. In 2015, his collection The Stairwell (2014) won the Griffin Poetry Prize. In 2017 Longley received the PEN Pinter Prize and in 2022 he was awarded the €250,000 Feltrinelli International Prize for Poetry. The award ceremony will take place on 11th November 2022 and Longley, the Irish poet, will join a long list of illustrious previous winners including John Ashbery, WH Auden and Eugenio Montale.
Longley worked for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from 1970 to 1991 and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of Aosdána. He is married and has three children. He has been also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2009.

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