I can recommend Louis MacNeice to anyone who has not read any of his poetry. A master of his trade and although categorised by association of friendship and era with Auden, Spender and Day-Lewis (1930'S) his work is different altogether. An essential choice of reading.
Available for the first time on Kindle, the poems of Louis MacNiece is one of the rare poets, whose poems make sense to all levels of intelligence. Wonderful use of language and narrative ( story telling) make MacNeice a people's poet.
Michael Longley is unusual not only because he has the courage, in these ironic, post-modern days, to write with an intense lyricism. What is more unusual still is that this lyricism, this music, springs less from the play of sound than from the power and clarity of his thoughts. For example, the first four lines of this poem about the sectarian conflicts in Northern Ireland: Some people tried to stop other people wearing poppies/ And ripped them from lapels as though uprooting poppies/ From Flanders fields, but the others hid inside their poppies/ Razor blades and added to their poppies more red poppies.
I am ashamed to say this poet was unknown to me and would have remained so until I saw a programme on TV and purchased at Amazon. There is so much I want to say but nothing will be a substitute for reading the Selected Poems of Louis MacNeice for yourself, better still, go to an isolated place and read them out loud.
You will find much comfort and demanding challenge for having met up with this wonderful man - may joy go with you (and him).
There are, perhaps, only a few times in your life when you pick up a book and read lines of poetry that seem so utterly vital and profoundly insightful that the poet's words begin to revolutionise the way you perceive the world: to filter reality back to you in thrilling and terrifying new forms. This was my experience of Louis MacNeice's poems when I first read them and after the initial excitement of discovering a true virtuoso in verse, i found, on re-reading, MacNeice that there was wisdom and genius in his poems which continues to resonate ever more deeply through my consciousness.