Belfast Telegraph

Freedom of Belfast honour for top poet Michael Longley

By Rebecca Black

Belfast poet Michael Longley will receive the freedom of his home city at a special event later this month, councillors have agreed.

Last month the Belfast Telegraph revealed that all parties were in support of honouring the literary legend.

Last night the proposal by SDLP councillor Claire Hanna was formally approved.

Mr Longley will receive the honour at an event at the Ulster Hall on March 23.

Ms Hanna said it is "appropriate that we acknowledge and celebrate greatness in our city".

DUP councillor Christopher Stalford seconded the proposal, and told council that he was particularly touched by Mr Longley's war poetry, citing Boy Soldier as his favourite piece.

Mr Longley has written evocatively for more than half-a-century, taking inspiration from Greek mythology, the military career of his father, Belfast, the Troubles, Sligo and nature.

His work has won some of the top literary prizes in the world and the 75-year-old received a CBE from the Queen in 2010.

He now follows singer Van Morrison, athlete Dame Mary Peters and fellow poet John Hewitt as recent freemen of Belfast City.

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