Comments about Louis MacNeice


‘He is a major modern poet with very strong connections to this part of the world. He has had a strong influence on contemporary poets – really, his stock keeps rising… Since his premature death in 1963, his centrality to modern poetry has been increasingly understood … In a way, this conference is a beginning as well as a stock-taking. His reputation has grown since his death, and he is absolutely the equivalent of his contemporaries TS Eliot and Auden’ Edna Longley

‘He had a complex and mature grasp of history but he wasn’t a joiner [of parties] and he didn’t fall for right wing, left wing, nationalist or unionist ideologies or slogans’ Edna Longley

‘Louis MacNeice is to be admired for many reasons: his sterling work for the BBC, the cut of his suits, his wives, his friends, his poems – but perhaps, above all, because he believed that a poet in his own words, was “only an extension – or if you prefer it, a concentration – of an ordinary man”’. Ian Sansom, BBC writer in residence at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry

‘MacNeice has been an abiding presence, larger and more luminous as the years go by, his contribution increasingly recognised and his importance ever more verified by the critical and creative work of poetic heirs.’Seamus Heaney

‘No one else had tackled the inheritances of Ulster with a comparable power and pungency.’ Patricia Craig

‘Part of MacNeice’s legacy, I suppose, has been to show how a complex intelligence might move within an equally complex history, responding to it.’ Leontia Flynn