On Louis MacNeice

Seamus Perry and Mark Ford discuss the life and work of Louis MacNeice, the Irish poet of psychic divisions and authoritative fretfulness.

Mark Ford: I think his best poems all reveal that the pressures of his autobiography in terms of the effect on him of his fairly disastrous early childhood is something which features in poem after poem of the ones which we still read today. MacNeice wrote enormous amounts, given the fact he died in his mid fifties. His Collected Poems is some six hundred pages, and there were all the radio plays, enormous amounts of criticism as well. He was a reviewer. He really lived the literary life. But in his most powerful moments he does seem to always be returning to the bleakness of his childhood and the kind of divisions which had inculcated in him.

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