#NaBloPoMo 5 – Michael Longley interview with Krista Tippett


I feel a great sense of weariness as I look at the current political scene. Domestically, in the UK, we have Brexit, each day, it seems, bringing with it a fresh wave of rhetoric whose purpose is to marginalise and threaten the ‘other’, from overseas students and refugees to High Court judges. Across the pond, America goes to the polls to decide the outcome of what is surely the most bitter and divisive presidential campaign in living memory.

In such a state I listened to Michael Longley’s interview with Krista Tippett from the On Being blog, above. While he repeatedly avers the uselessness of poetry, it lifted my spirits enormously. In it you can hear him read his poems ‘Ceasefire’, ‘All of These People’, ‘The Ice-Cream Man’, and ‘Remembering Carigskeewaun’. There are other fascinating references to his contemporaries Seamus Heaney and Derek Mahon, as well as Stanley Kunitz (‘form is a way of conserving energy’) and Wallace Stevens (‘The Idea of Order at Key West’). As in his poetry, Longley meditates on poetry’s capacity to pay witness to and encompass silence, nature, love, family and war.

Whatever the outcome of today’s election in the States, this recording will leave you feeling a little more reassured in the goodness of humanity by the time you finish listening to it.


  1. Dear Will, By a strange coincidence, this poet’s blog (which I follow) mentions the very same Krista Tippett. I read it immediately after yours (for which, thank you!) Haven’t had time to explore her yet, but it sounds interesting. I love the idea of a “Wind Phone”. My great friend from Alderminster, Ann, sadly – and rather suddenly – lost her husband last April. She says the times she misses him most is after doing something interesting, or going to a family gathering, the day before. They used to sit up in bed next morning, with cups of tea, to discuss it all. I know she does still “talk to him”. There is so much that is simply irreplaceable about a close relationship which has been there for many years. Lots of love Sue xxx >


  2. Thank you so much, Antony – for this, the most uplifting, hour of the recent past of Brexit and Elections – and for introducing me to Michael Longley.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have bought your Lifesaving Poems as I have been feeling a little low lately and I know they will help. Our postie brought the book to the door about five minutes ago so I’m all set and looking forward to taking time out to read it. x

    Liked by 1 person

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