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A Hundred Doors
A Hundred Doors

A Hundred Doors

POETRY

89 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $12.95 (US $12.95) (CA $16.95)

Publication Date: May 2011

ISBN 9781930630567

Rights: US & CA

Wake Forest University Press (May 2011)

Price: $12.95
 
 

Overview

Michael Longley has remarkable powers of reinvention. Certain themes remain constant—the natural world, war, violence, love, friendship, art, death—but they also keep changing because the forms and genres of his poetry never stand still. In A Hundred Doors a sinuous short line complements his variations on pentameter and hexameter. Longley’s interlacing of individual lyrics, so that a diverse collection seems a single poem, intensifies in the shadow of mortality. A sequence about his grandchildren’s births is counterpointed by elegies, including Longley’s continuing elegy for the Great War dead. The Mayo townland Carrigskeewaun, with its cast of flora and fauna, also takes on fresh guises. Longley is among Europe’s foremost “ecological” poets. Yet Carrigskeewaun is ultimately symbolic, a microcosm, a “soul-arena.” A Hundred Doors roams in time and space. The title poem evokes the oldest Byzantine church in Greece: Our Lady of a Hundred Doors on the island of Paros. The remains of a Greek temple “ache” beneath its floor. Wild orchids, which crop up in Greece and the Italian Garfagnana as well as Ireland, are among the collection’s multiple “doors.” Others are music and paintings, “cloudberry jam from Lapland,” a Shetland pony. This is work of power, precision and delicacy: poems that “bend and magnify the daylight,” poems by a master craftsman. Winner of the DLR Poetry Now Award.

Author Biography

Michael Longley was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1939. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and studied Classics at Trinity College. Strongly influenced by the classics, he has alluded to his love of Homer in many of his poems. Early in his career, Longley worked as a schoolteacher in Dublin, London, and Belfast. He founded the literary program in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and in 1970 he became the assistant director of that organization. In 2010, he was honored with the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of Aosdána, an affiliation for Irish artists. He is married to the critic Edna Longley and has three children.Michael Longley has written nine collections of poetry. Holding honorary doctorates from both Trinity College, Dublin, and Queen’s University, Belfast, Longley was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2001. He has received numerous other awards for his work, including the American Irish Foundation Award, the T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize, the Whitbread Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the International Griffin Poetry Prize, and the Ulster Tatler Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He served as the Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2007–2010.