Search Results

Advanced Search

1 to 15 of 39 results

Sort by:

Filter by:


Article Types


Songs of Praise

Derek Mahon, 18 December 1980

... Tonight, their simple church grown glamorous, The proud parishioners of the outlying parts Lift up their hymn-books and their hearts To please the outside-broadcast cameras. The darkness deepens; day draws to a close; A well-bred sixth-former yawns with her nose. Outside, the hymn dies among rocks and dunes. Conflicting rhythms of the incurious sea, Not even contemptuous of these tiny tunes, Take over where our thin ascriptions fail ...

Table Talk

Derek Mahon, 3 July 1980

... You think I am your servant but you are wrong. The service lies with you. During your long Labours at me, I am the indulgent wood, Tolerant of your painstaking ineptitude. Your poems were torn from me by violence; I am here to receive your homage in dark silence. Remembering the chain-saw surgery and the seaward groan, Like a bound and goaded exodus from Babylon, I pray for a wood-spirit to make me dance, To scare you shitless and upset your balance, Destroy the sedate poise with which you pour Forth your ephemeral stream of literature ...

New Wave

Derek Mahon, 5 April 2001

... On the first day of principal photography they sit outside at a St Germain café with a coffee pot between them on a round table of chequered oilcloth red and grey. The hand-held camera looks for natural light, mikes pick up traffic and incidental sound. A mid-week noon and the hot bridges sweat; from ice buckets, from windows, watches, knives life flashes back at them their glittering lives ...


Derek Mahon, 27 January 1994

... Ovid, Metamorphoses, X, 243-277) ... Pygmalion watched these women, hard- featured and cynical, as they led their shameful lives and, sickened by the wickedness so generously given to their sex, he lived alone without a wife to call his own. Meanwhile, ingeniously, he wrought a maiden out of ivory, one lovelier than any woman born, and with this shape he fell in love ...

Men at forty

Derek Mahon, 21 August 1980

Selected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 137 pp., £3.50, May 1980, 0 85646 058 3
Show More
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 80 pp., £2.95, April 1980, 0 85635 332 9
Show More
Show More
... The first poem by Donald Justice I ever read was the much anthologised sestina, ‘Here in Katmandu’: We have climbed the mountain, There’s nothing more to do ... It seemed to me then, and seems to me now, a beautiful and mysterious object, resonant and yet resistant to paraphrase. It might be said that it is a poem of regret for the death of idealism, a poem about coming to terms with quotidian reality, and, therefore, in some sense about ‘the way we live now ...

Resistance Days

Derek Mahon, 25 April 2002

... for John Minihan Nous nous aimerons tous et nos enfants riront De la légende noire où pleure un solitaire. Paul Eluard The sort of snailmail that can take a week but suits my method, pre-informatique, I write this from the St Louis, rm 14 – or type it, rather, on the old machine, a portable, that I take when I migrate in ‘the run-up to Christmas ...


Derek Mahon, 5 June 1980

by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 120 pp., £3.95, February 1980, 0 85635 284 5
Show More
The Strange Museum 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 51 pp., £3.50, March 1980, 9780571115112
Show More
The Psalms with their Spoils 
by Jon Silkin.
Routledge, 74 pp., £2.95, April 1980, 0 7100 0497 4
Show More
The Equal Skies 
by Norman MacCaig.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.75, March 1980, 0 7011 2491 1
Show More
Sibyls and Others 
by Ruth Fainlight.
Hutchinson, 141 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 09 141030 4
Show More
Show More
... It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I have taken the full measure, or anything like it, of Middleton’s Carminalenia, an intensely difficult collection about as far removed from ‘mainstream’ English poetry as it’s possible to be and yet remain, in part at least, accessible. I say ‘in part at least’, but the fact is that Middleton, to me at any rate, is more often inaccessible than not ...

Long Goodbye

Derek Mahon, 20 November 1980

Why Brownlee left 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 48 pp., £3, September 1980, 0 571 11592 6
Show More
Poems 1956-1973 
by Thomas Kinsella.
Dolmen, 192 pp., £7.50, September 1980, 0 85105 365 3
Show More
Constantly Singing 
by James Simmons.
Blackstaff, 90 pp., £3.95, June 1980, 0 85640 217 6
Show More
A Part of Speech 
by Joseph Brodsky.
Oxford, 151 pp., £4.95, September 1980, 0 19 211939 7
Show More
Collected poems 1931-1974 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 350 pp., £9, September 1980, 0 571 18009 4
Show More
Show More
... Why Brownlee left is Paul Muldoon’s third book of poems, and his most interesting so far. Whereas, in the earlier books, he didn’t do a great deal more than exercise the quirky, oblique lyricism which has become his personal signature, he puts it here to the service of an idea, or complex of ideas, which constitutes a private poetry of departure ...

Perish the thought

John Redmond: Derek Mahon, 8 February 2001

Selected Poems 
by Derek Mahon.
Penguin, 213 pp., £9.99, November 2000, 0 14 118233 4
Show More
Show More
... In his undergraduate days at Trinity College Dublin in the early 1960s, Derek Mahon cast a spell over his contemporaries, as he would cast a spell over his early readers. He had wit, taste and a literary knowledge beyond his years; his distinctiveness as a Belfast poet was crucially accentuated by his study of French literature, which Irish poets had been slow to explore ...

Two Poems

Paul Batchelor: Two Poems, 18 November 2021

... Last Poemi.m. Derek MahonWe value them, the voicesthat need us least, who speakwith honest subtletyto ironies beyond us,who slip our grasp and gowhistling down endlesscelestial colonnadesof – no, not astral planeswhere the dream-soul wanders,but airport corridors,bus stations, the Gare du Nord,a beach house in Goa,testing posteritywith promises to break ...
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
Show More
Show More
... that a ‘Northern Ireland Renaissance’ is ‘largely a journalistic entity’. Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Deane, Michael Longley and their colleagues are from the North, and they are poets: but they are individual poets, not a school. They are not even two rival schools, though some of them have started ...

Everything is susceptible

Douglas Dunn, 20 March 1980

Poems 1962-1978 
by Derek Mahon.
Oxford, 117 pp., £5.75, November 1979, 0 19 211898 6
Show More
The Echo Gate 
by Michael Longley.
Secker, 53 pp., £3, November 1979, 0 436 25680 0
Show More
Poets from the North of Ireland 
edited by Frank Ormsby.
Blackstaff, 232 pp., £6.50, October 1979, 9780856402012
Show More
Show More
... Derek Mahon’s Poems 1962 – 1978 includes most of his three earlier books, to which he has added a few uncollected poems and about 35 pages of new work. Readers will discover that poems with which they thought themselves familiar have been retitled and in some cases extensively revised. Although precocious in that there are poems here which must have been written when Mahon was as young as 20 or 21, he looks as if he has been compensating for a lack of productivity by going over earlier work once again ...

Anglo-Irish Occasions

Seamus Heaney, 5 May 1988

... of mine, published in Belfast as part of a series that included Seamus Deane, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Stewart Parker, James Simmons, and several other Northern Irish poets whose voices were beginning to raise themselves in the mid-Sixties. To hear John Carey now, almost a quarter of a century later, go farther still along that road of praise is ...


Philip Terry, 6 May 2021

... full of enthusiasm for the Oulipianisms, which were new to him. ‘Years ago in Belfast Derek Mahon established the “good craic” test for poetry – one which your Oulipian gift passes with flying colours.’Heaney was an instinctive Oulipian, or, as Oulipo would put it, an ‘anticipatory plagiarist’. Nowhere is this more clear than in ...

Beddoes’ Best Thing

C.H. Sisson, 20 September 1984

The Force of Poetry 
by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 447 pp., £19.50, September 1984, 0 19 811722 1
Show More
Show More
... between Marvell and the ‘gifted group of Ulster poets: Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, and Paul Muldoon’ – poets surely very unlike the Member of Parliament for Hull. He asserts that ‘many of these are creatively grateful to Marvell,’ and then suggests, even more extravagantly, that ‘it is likely that there is at least ...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences