Michael Longley and Birds

Authors

  • Przemysław Michalski Pedagogical University of Kraków

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1515/texmat-2018-0005

Keywords:

Longley, Ireland, poetry, birds

Abstract

The following essay attempts to shed some light on Michael Longley’s poems about birds, which form a fairly complicated network of mutual enhancements and cross-references. Some of them are purely descriptive lyrics. Such poems are likely to have the name of a given species or a specific individual representative of that species in the title. Others make references to birds or use them for their own agenda, which often transcends the parameters of pure description. Sometimes birds perform an evocative function (“Snow Geese”), prompt the poet to explore the murky mysteries of iniquity (“The Goose”), judge human affairs from the avian vantage (“Aftermath”), or raise ecological problems (“Kestrel”). Most of the time, however, Longley is careful not to intrude upon their baffling otherness. Many of his bird poems are suffused with an aura of subtle yet suggestive eroticism, a conflation of the avian and the amorous.

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Author Biography

Przemysław Michalski, Pedagogical University of Kraków

Przemysław Michalski read English literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, graduating in 1996. He has written articles and essays on the metaphysical poets, G. M. Hopkins, T. S. Eliot, Philip Larkin, R. S. Thomas, Theodore Roethke and Czesław Miłosz. He has written two books; the first one, published in 2013, discussed the problem of mysticism in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, while his second book analyzed the question of self-manifestations of the divine in the poetry of Ronald Stuart Thomas. At the moment he holds the position of Assistant Professor at the Pedagogical University of Kraków, where he teaches English literature.

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Published

2018-10-24

How to Cite

Michalski, P. (2018). Michael Longley and Birds. Text Matters, (8), 68-83. https://doi.org/10.1515/texmat-2018-0005