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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2012
Irish poet, Michael Longley, has for 50 years been engaging with the landscape that he loves. Recurring themes are the coastal landscape of Carrigskewaun, Co Mayo, and the war-time sufferings of those he knew and of his father's generation. His poems are filled with careful observation, tenderness and honesty. He achieves a conciseness and individuality of voice that deeply engage and move the reader. In the short time since buying it, I have already re-read this collection several times and marked my favourites - something not done with every book of poems. He is the living proof that poems can be written in a modern style and still completely take the reader with them. Some of his lines and phrases will echo in my mind for a very long time. Please, please read him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
Some of these poems are as perfect as any short lyrics in the English language. In the four lines of PRAYER Longley achieves a rare grace. Like the snowflakes in the poem, each of his words falls in the right place, and as if without effort on his part:

In our country they are desecrating churches.
May the rain that pours in pour into the font.
Because no snowflake ever falls in the wrong place,
May snow lie on the altar like an altar cloth.

The translations from Greek and Latin are no less remarkable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2014
I cannot recommend this book enough, Michael Longley is great poet and this is a great collection. Why not buy it.
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on 2 October 2015
My eight-year-old daughter made me realise that Michael Longley's poems go straight to the heart. Her schoolteacher had completely ignored Halloween, and she was hungry for words when I read Longley's poem Hallowe'en to her on October 31:

"It is Hallowe'en. Turnip Head / Will soon be given his face, / A slit, two triangles, a hole. / His brains litter the table top. / A candle stub will be his soul."

My daughter's laughter was one of agreement and surprise. The poem not only gave her a description of her own experience, but also illuminated it. Michael Longley's poems don't explain. They just focus and describe, evoking memories and insights. Excellent edition, with indexes of titles and first lines.
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