Louis Macneice

Rating: 5
Rating: 5

Louis Macneice Biography

Attended Oxford, where he majored in classics and philosophy. In 1930, he married Giovanna Ezra and accepted a post as classics lecturer at the University of Birmingham, a position he held until 1936, when he went on to teach Greek at Bedford College for Women, University of London. In 1941, he joined the British Broadcasting Company as a staff writer and producer. Like many modern English poets, MacNeice found an audience for his work through British radio. Some of his best-known plays, including 'Christopher Columbus' (1944), and 'The Dark Tower' (1946), were originally written for radio and later published.

Early in his career, MacNeice was identified with a group of politically committed poets whose work appeared in Michael Roberts's anthology New Signatures. MacNeice drew many of ...

Louis Macneice Comments

John Orford 14 September 2018

I remember him from the late 40s and 50s - he was popular then among many young people. The world is seldom a happy place for him. He is still relevant in our troubled world. Come then all of you, come closer, form a circle, Join hands and make believe that joined Hands will keep away the wolves of water Who howl along our coast. And be it assumed That no one hears them among the talk and laughter.

1 1 Reply
Peter McLaren 12 November 2017

Although MacNeice is not usually thought of a 'great poet' he has more memorable lines than any other non great poet of the 20th century. He was a Irish song bird in the tradition of Thomas Moore; though cankered with all the angst of his age he tries to be as blithe as he can, for the music's sake. His felicity of phrase perfumes one's idle thoughts. One feels grateful to him.

5 0 Reply
Marcus Smith Poetry 29 July 2017

McNeice is a tragic poet who, not believing enough in the ennoblement of tragedy, contents himself (and his readers) in ‘find[ing] pathos’ in soap suds or the broken hollow doll ‘dead on the nursery floor.’ He is a poet of beautiful sadness whose poems are shattered by intrusions of happiness.

6 2 Reply

The Best Poem Of Louis Macneice

Prayer Before Birth

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

Louis Macneice Popularity

Louis Macneice Quotes

11 November 2014

It's no go the Government grants, it's no go the elections, Sit on your arse for fifty years and hang your hat on a pension.

Louis Macneice Popularity

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