Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939, and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned his degree in Classics. He worked as a schoolteacher in Dublin, London, and Belfast before joining the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, where he served over twenty years as Director for Literature and the Traditional Arts. He is married to the critic Edna Longley and has three children.
He has received numerous awards, including the American Irish Foundation Award, the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, the Whitbread Prize, and the Hawthornden Prize. He is also the recipient of the prestigious 2001 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
Mr. Longley has published over a dozen collections of poetry, beginning with No Continuing City(MacMillan) in 1969. He is published in the United States by Wake Forest University Press. Wake Forest has published American editions of Selected Poems 1963-1980 (1981), Poems 1963-1983 (1985), Gorse Fires (1991) winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, The Ghost Orchid(1996), Selected Poems (1999), and The Weather in Japan (2000), which won The Irish Times Poetry Award, the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, and the Hawthornden Prize. Wake Forest published Snow Water in 2004, his Collected Poems in 2007, and his most recent volume, A Hundred Doors, in 2011.
“Longley’s poems count the phenomena of the natural world with the particular deliberate pleasure of a lover’s fingers wandering along the bumpy path of the vertebrae.” Seamus Heaney