Derek Mahon


Derek Mahon at the Louis MacNeice Centenary Conference & Celebration
Derek Mahon © Paul Maddern

Derek Mahon was born in Belfast in 1941. His Collected Poems was published in 1999 by Gallery Press. His most recent collection is Harbour Lights (2005). He edited the poems of Dylan Thomas in the Faber “Poet to Poet” series. Author of a well-known elegy for MacNeice (“In Carrowdore Churchyard”), he has written the preface to a reprint of MacNeice’s autobiography The Strings are False (2007). His awards include a Lannan Award, and most recently the prestigious David Cohen prize. ‘A modern master at the height of his powers: mature, meditative, worldly’ (William Boyd).

Peter McDonald says of Harbour Lights: ‘Mahon’s view of the contemporary world is every bit as grim as Yeats’s, and in its way just as apocalyptic … but in his version the sages’ laughing gaiety in the face of tragedy (“Lapis Lazuli”) is a convincingly-put question … The book’s key-notes are resilience and affirmation; and these things are to be found both in the remarkable reworking of Homer (“Calypso”) and in the strong, tightly-sprung, verse forms through which they are expressed.’

The following recordings were made at the Louis MacNeice Centenary Celebration and Conference at Queen's University, Belfast in September 2007.

Autobiography (by Louis MacNeice)

'Wonders are many, and none are more wonderful than man...'

The Chinese Restaurant in Portrush

The Bangor Antiphonary

Girls on the Bridge

The Cloud (adapted from the Russian of Alexander Pushkin)

© All recordings copyright Derek Mahon and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

Derek was reading with Thomas McCarthy, Medbh McGuckian and Michael Longley.