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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Snow Water

$10.95$21.95

Michael Longley’s Snow Water follows his highly acclaimed The Weather in Japan to prove that he is one of the best nature poets in English: a poet who can rightly claim the paradoxically liquid crystal “snow water” as a metaphor for his own imagination. Yet, living in Northern Ireland, Michael Longley is a “nature poet turned into a war poet as if / He could cure death with the rub  of a dock leaf,” as he writes in “Edward Thomas’s Poem.”

Longley cherishes the natural world, the words associated with it, and the perspective which dwelling in the five elements has revealed to his tender, patient mind. The imperatives of the subjective world resound in every sacramental detail of the landscape. Even in the elegies, eulogies and friendship verse, Longley’s ability to find the right natural image with which to communicate his fellow feelings is striking; for example, he compares the poems of the late Michael Hartnett to the “skylark’s / Chilly hallelujah, the robin’s autumn song.” And so it is with the rest of the poems on a multiplicity of subjects; Longley’s discrete ministrations invite us to capture our “own little cumulus of exhalations.” Literature and the land are seen throughout as a form of shelter for the inner life, for here it may be explored.

With cover artwork by Michael Longley’s daughter, Sarah

Note: The clothbound edition has a signature embossed cover and a plain vellum jacket.


Reviews

Snow Water marks a decisive moment in Longley’s poetic development—as decisive, perhaps as that signaled by Gorse Fires. . . . Longley’s war poetry can stand comparison with the best of its century; and Snow Water adds to the distinguished total, while also doing something radically new.”
– The Guardian

“Whatever Longley attends to—whether war poetry revivified, the minutiae of the landscape he lives in, its flora and ornithology, or Homeric retellings—he describes with the same honoring accuracy. As for much of Irish poetry, the political is always part of the evocation. . . . [T]he poems are sometimes bird’s-eye views of the garden or the ‘fallen branches’ upon which the birds come to rest. The suggestion of sturdiness and growth, rootedness and flourish, provides a fitting metaphor for these verses, which reveal a poet both prolific and wise, a heartening combination.”
– Meg Tyler, Harvard Reviewater

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Description

Michael Longley’s Snow Water follows his highly acclaimed The Weather in Japan to prove that he is one of the best nature poets in English: a poet who can rightly claim the paradoxically liquid crystal “snow water” as a metaphor for his own imagination. Yet, living in Northern Ireland, Michael Longley is a “nature poet turned into a war poet as if / He could cure death with the rub  of a dock leaf,” as he writes in “Edward Thomas’s Poem.”

Longley cherishes the natural world, the words associated with it, and the perspective which dwelling in the five elements has revealed to his tender, patient mind. The imperatives of the subjective world resound in every sacramental detail of the landscape. Even in the elegies, eulogies and friendship verse, Longley’s ability to find the right natural image with which to communicate his fellow feelings is striking; for example, he compares the poems of the late Michael Hartnett to the “skylark’s / Chilly hallelujah, the robin’s autumn song.” And so it is with the rest of the poems on a multiplicity of subjects; Longley’s discrete ministrations invite us to capture our “own little cumulus of exhalations.” Literature and the land are seen throughout as a form of shelter for the inner life, for here it may be explored.

With cover artwork by Michael Longley’s daughter, Sarah

Note: The clothbound edition has a signature embossed cover and a plain vellum jacket.


Reviews

Snow Water marks a decisive moment in Longley’s poetic development—as decisive, perhaps as that signaled by Gorse Fires. . . . Longley’s war poetry can stand comparison with the best of its century; and Snow Water adds to the distinguished total, while also doing something radically new.”
– The Guardian

“Whatever Longley attends to—whether war poetry revivified, the minutiae of the landscape he lives in, its flora and ornithology, or Homeric retellings—he describes with the same honoring accuracy. As for much of Irish poetry, the political is always part of the evocation. . . . [T]he poems are sometimes bird’s-eye views of the garden or the ‘fallen branches’ upon which the birds come to rest. The suggestion of sturdiness and growth, rootedness and flourish, provides a fitting metaphor for these verses, which reveal a poet both prolific and wise, a heartening combination.”
– Meg Tyler, Harvard Reviewater

Additional information

Publication date:

2004

Pages:

64

Binding:

,