Michael Longley: Belfast poet wins EUR250,000 Feltrinelli Poetry Prize

Michael Longley, a Belfast-born poet, has been awarded a EUR250,000 European Arts Award (PS216,000).

Michael Longley: Belfast poet wins EUR250,000 Feltrinelli Poetry Prize

Michael Longley, a Belfast-born poet, has been awarded a EUR250,000 European Arts Award (PS216,000).

Longley will receive the Feltrinelli International Poetry Prize in Poetry during a November ceremony.

The prize has been won before by John Ashbery, Eugenio Montale, and WH Auden.

Longley was born in 1939. He published his first poetry collection, No Continuing City, at the age of 30.

From 2007 to 2010, he was the professor of poetry in Ireland.

It is awarded by the Accademia Nazionale Dei Lincei in Italy once every five years.

According to the Accademia Dei Lincei, Mr Longley was awarded for his "extraordinary relevance of his themes and cultural implications as well as his very high stylistic quality oeuvre".

It was said that Longley is an exceptional poet of landscape, especially of the Irish West. He observes the land with the delicate, passionate attention of an ecoologist and is a tragic singer about Ireland's dramatic past.

"But, with his poetry, he also addressed the seduction and conquest of love, as well the shock of all ages war, the tragedy at the Holocaust and in the gulags and the themes loss, grief, and pity."

Belfast native, who is the son of an English soldier who fought during World War One, was born to Londoners. His parents moved to Northern Ireland before he was born.

His twin brother and he were both born in Lower Crescent in Belfast on the 27th of July 1939, just weeks before the outbreak of World War Two.

Longley studied at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, also known as Inst. He later studied classics in Trinity College in Dublin. Both institutions had a significant influence on his career.

His writing career began as a teenager when he fell in love with a girl at Methodist College.

He laughed and said, "I tried to write poems for her to impress me but she was not impressed."

Longley's later years were more favorable by critics, but he has been one of the most successful poets Northern Ireland ever produced.

His trophy collection includes the Whitbread Poetry Award and the TS Eliot Prize.

He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2001, and the Wilfred Owen Award in 2003.

In 2010, he was made CBE.

In 2015, he was granted the freedom to his native Belfast for his contributions to literature and culture. He and his wife, Edna Longley (the critic) live and work in Belfast.

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