Michael Longley’s prose centres on poetry. This is so, even when he is writing autobiographically, or reflecting on war and memory, or enthusing about music and painting. Since Longley writes relatively little criticism, readers of his poetry have lacked access to his aesthetic thinking. Sidelines fills the gap by assembling prose that ranges from his (often-combative) youthful poetry reviews, to the lectures he gave as Ireland Professor of Poetry. Among the poets Longley discusses are Homer, Propertius, Louis MacNeice, Robert Graves, James Wright, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Ruth Stone. Sidelines, which includes interviews with Longley, not only illuminates his own work. Longley’s perspectives on modern poetry are both distinctive and important. He is also uniquely qualified to interpret the phenomenon of poetry from Northern Ireland.
Cover Image: My Father in the Cottage, Sarah Longley