“Silence is part of the enterprise”

Thanks to reminders from a dear friend, I’ve recently started listening to Krista Tippet’s podcast, On Being. This morning I listened to her conversation with the Irish poet Michael Longley.

The conversation focuses often on Longley’s writing about “the troubles” in Northern Ireland, and feels remarkably timely. He speaks about love (in all its forms) as the center of poetry, as its central subject, and acknowledges that his work has “no agenda — I stagger around.” He reminds me that “self-importance engraves its own headstone” and that “silence is part of the enterprise.” About compliments, he quotes his wife as saying: “you accept them, but you don’t inhale.”

Image by Colin Davidson

And, he declares: “Good art, good poetry, makes people more human, more intelligent, more sensitive and emotionally pure than than they might otherwise be … poetry encourages you to think for yourself and disregard church and state.”

More about Michael Longley here.




One thought on ““Silence is part of the enterprise”

  1. todmarshall

    Hi Elizabeth, Those podcasts keep me on the road. Was so proud when they reprinted one of my essays. Such a wonderful and sustaining resource. And Michael’s comments on use/value of poetry. Wonderful. Hugs, Tod

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