Michael Longley

Michael Longley has published eleven books of poetry, including his Collected Poems, which appeared in 2006. His most recent collection, Angel Hill, came out in June 2017, as did Sidelines: Selected Prose 1962-2015. His previous collection, The Stairwell (2014), won the Griffin International Prize. He published a pamphlet, A Stream’s Tattle, in 2019. In 2001 Longley received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and he has won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize. He is a Freeman of the City of Belfast. Michael Longley was appointed a CBE in 2010, and from 2007 to 2010 he was Ireland’s Professor of Poetry. In 2017 he received the PEN Pinter Prize, and in 2018 the inaugural Yakamochi Medal: an international poetry prize awarded by Toyama Prefecture, Japan.

Photo: Bobbie Hanvey


Poetry Centre Stage »

A double bill of poetry to start your weekend in style
20:00 Reading –  Michael Longley
21:00 Reading – Carolyn Forché

Fri 6 March | 20:00 - 22:00 | £10.00/£8.50 | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Auditorium



Wielding a colossal pair of scissors,
Cutting out from the costliest paper
The world’s peculiar shapes, he instructed
From his wheelchair beautiful assistants
Where to position – floor to ceiling –
Each adhesive genesis, cloud formations
Reflected in estuarial waters.

He covered a stain on his studio wall
With a swallow’s cut-out shape, then added
Other birds and fish and coral and leaves,
Memory replacing the outside world
And his imagination a lagoon
Where, immobile, he swam every day
Contemplating his submarine kingdom.

Michael Longley