In the past [Michael Longley] proved himself defter than most in the handling of rhymes and metre. There was a consistently smooth elegance about his work, his intricate verse forms—especially in No Continuing City—reflecting an ambitiously precise kind of craftsmanship.
Man Lying on a Wall is no less scrupulous a book. It has already been criticised, insanely, on the grounds that it is too neat, too careful. Elegance is no longer the thing-itself for Longley, if, indeed, it ever was. His care is a simple consequence of his honesty. It just so happens his poems unfold in slow, clear, careful lines. They are lines full of experience embodied in flowers and creatures; or of experience...
(The entire section is 535 words.)