Longley's first book, No Continuing City (1969), established at once that he was at home with the colloquial and natural as well as with artifice. Interestingly enough, the seven poems reprinted from that book [in Selected Poems: 1963–1980] do not include those which, through a refreshing technical accomplishment, recommended themselves at the time—poems like "Epithalamion", "A Personal Statement" and "The Hebrides".
His development suggests a slow riddance of the more noticeable restraints of formalism, an affectionate departure from rhyme and metre rather than a trite rejection of what can be achieved through traditional means. Verse, however, is still the ground on which...
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