Michael Longley

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Alan Brownjohn

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 126

No Continuing City shows the stubborn, interesting persistence of formal and intricate patterning in verse. Michael Longley, on this showing, is a deeply fastidious craftsman, working out his mildly metaphysical plots over complex, careful stanza grids, arriving at his point through minute convolutions of syntax. The scene is the Northern Irish (and Scottish) landscape, the themes small-scale, with nothing forced or pretentious in the medium or the message. It's a quiet and honourable first book rather than an exciting one; its weaknesses are in precisely that formal neatness, which leads poems on a bit automatically to unremarkable conclusions, its strengths in some moments of quirky, original vision…. (p. 832)

Alan Brownjohn, "Rival Claims," in New Statesman (© 1969 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. 78, No. 2021, December 5, 1969, pp. 830, 832.∗

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