“Is poetry a heavy load?” I asked Michael Longley.

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Watching the bearded Russian demeanoured poet Michael Longley ambling
along Belfast’s Lisburn Road, paraded by his not inconsiderable weight
I approached him and invited him for a cup of coffee. Armed with a
double expresso I risked asking “Is poetry a heavy load?” A wonderful
smile caressed and amplified his face. We quickly turned to poetry.
His new collection ‘One Hundred Doors’ will be published in March.
The title is anchored in the architecture of
‘Our Lady of One Hundred Doors’ a church he visited two years ago in
Paros, Greece. Longley added “I was lighting candles which I like to
do and when I and others who were doing likewise moved off the
sacristan went over and snuffed out the candles. That rather spoiled
the symbolism of it all.” The annoyance was sufficient to inspire this
new volume of poems. Clearly it will be awaited with interest. Longley
also tells me he has already written three poems for his next
publication. He has even got a title for the book. He has also penned
a suite of poems for his grandchildren. At 71 Michael Longley boasts
ongoing ‘literary fertility.’ No idle boast!

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.