Snow Water

Front Cover
Jonathan Cape, 2004 - English poetry - 65 pages
4 Reviews

The poems collected in Snow Water find their gravity and centre in Michael Longley's adopted home in west Mayo, but range widely in their attention - from ancient Greece to Paris and Pisa, from Central Park to the trenches of the Somme. Meditations on nature and mortality, there is a depth and delicacy to these poems, a state of lucid wonder, that allows for the easy companionship of love poem and elegy, hymns to marriage and friendship and lyric explorations of loss.

Though the embodiment of these themes is often found in the wildlife of Carrigskeewaun and Allaran Point - the plovers and oystercatchers, whooper swans and snow geese, the hares and otters, the marsh marigolds and yellow flags - Snow Water is emphatically a celebration of humanity. These are all, in a way, poems of love and kinship - even the magnificent sequence that links the horrors of the Great War with those of the Trojan War, and with all the wars between.

What Longley says of Edward Thomas might easily be said of him: 'The nature poet turned into a war poet as if/ He could cure death with the rub of a dock leaf'. Full of intensity and grace, tenderness and wisdom, these are poems of deceptive simplicity from a craftsman of international stature.

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Review: Snow Water

User Review  - Brian Robbins - Goodreads

Longley as good as ever - fresh, precise, loaded with beautiful imagery, and always with his sense of humour lurking beneath. Read full review

Review: Snow Water

User Review  - Helen Calcutt - Goodreads

'Unrest' and 'Autumn' are the two words I associate most with this book - rich with colour, taste, whites, sea salts, orange flowers, dusty skylines, birds, blood, copper beeches. A beautiful set of poems, rooted deeply in seasonal change. Incredibly inspiring. I recommend to everyone. Read full review

About the author (2004)

Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939, and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College, Dublin, where he read Classics. His books include Gorse Fires, which won the 1991 Whitbread Prize for Poetry, The Weather in Japan (2000), which won the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Hawthornden Prize and the Irish Times Poetry Prize, and his Collected Poems, which was published in 2006. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2001, and a CBE in 2010, and recently held the post of Irish Professor of Poetry. He and his wife, the critic Edna Longley, live and work in Belfast.

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