Belfast Poet Michael Longley Wins €250,000 Feltrinelli Poetry Prize

Michael Longley, a poet from Belfast, will receive a €250,000 ($261,292) European cultural award.

At a ceremony in November, Longley will accept the Feltrinelli International Prize for Poetry.

Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei bestows the prize once every five years in each discipline, on a national and international level.

According to the Accademia dei Lincei, in a statement published on BBC, Longley won because of the extraordinarily relevant nature of his ideas and the cultural ramifications they have, as well as the very high level of stylistic excellence of his work.

“Longley is an extraordinary poet of landscape, particularly of the Irish West, which he observes with the delicate and passionate attention of an ecologist, and a tragic singer of Ireland and its dramatic history,” the Italian academy said. 

Themes of loss, grief and sympathy were also addressed in Longley’s poetry, as well as the seduction, conquest, and enchantment of love, the shock of war at all times, the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the gulags.

Longley was born in 1939, and at the age of 30, he released No Continuing City, his debut book of poetry.

From 2007 to 2010, Longley served as Ireland’s professor of poetry.

Former winners of the award include John Ashbery, Eugenio Montale, and WH Auden.


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