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Collected Poems Paperback – Nov 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The Gallery Press (Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852352558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852352554
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,351,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mykool on 3 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
Derek Mahon's poetry, like Auden's, shows there is still life in the old forms. Which is to say he employs metre and rhyme in the traditional ways but makes them sound bold and contemporary. He is erudite and gives the impression of being bewildered by the mania of modern life, but his voice has enough tongue-in-cheek humour and colloquial elegance to cope: "Maybe I'm finally turning into an old fart/ but I do prefer the traditional kinds of art,/respect for materials, draughtmanship and so on-/though I'm in two minds about Tank Girl over there,/the muse in chains, a screw bolt in one ear,/the knickers worn over the biking gear...." In the midst of the Troubles in his native Northern Ireland he imagines the Japanese poet Basho attending a party to watch snow falling: "Eastward, beyond Irago,/It is falling/Like leaves on the cold sea./Elsewhere they are burning/Witches and heretics/In the boiling squares,/Thousands have died since dawn/In the service/Of barbarous kings;/But there is silence/In the houses of Nagoya/And the hills of Ise." Time has moved on and this could be a response to any conflict, Iraq etc. Mahon brings a time-honoured poetic sensibility into our fractured age where silence, reflection and contemplation of beauty may be the best response to "barbarous kings" or presidents or prime ministers. He shows there is still moral worth in the delight poetry can bring and still room for the intellect in an age of unrestrained gushing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Get this book! It's worth every cent! 13 Oct 2000
By Manuel Haas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In his native Ireland, connaisseurs regard Mahon's poetry as superior to Seamus Heaney's, and why Mahon's works are so little known is a mystery to me. Maybe it is because he is not interested in the merely picturesque aspects of Ireland, and also because he has broken free of that country at least outwardly. Finally, there is almost always a sense of impending apocalypse in Mahon's poetry, which some people may feel unable to stomach. As a matter of fact, this poetry reminded my of W.G. Sebald's prose. In both cases a wide learning helps the speaker understand the details of a world gone wrong; both Sebald's and Mahon's works seem to be dominated by a feeling of grief.
Colleagues and critics acknowledge Mahon's rank among the finest poets of our time ("work of the highest order" Seamus Heaney; "real mastery" W.S. Mervin). What matters to me, however, is that he is by far my favorite poet now writing in English.
Of course I would like to quote a few lines now to give you an idea of what Mahon's poetry can do, but Mahon's oeuvre is so rich and diverse that the following verses will inevitably give you a wrong impression. Mahon wrote them in the early seventies, when the so-called "Troubles" had torn apart his native Northern Ireland:
"And I step ashore in a fine rain / To a city so changed / By five years of war / I scarcely recognize / The places I grew up in, / The faces that try to explain. // But the hills are still the same / Grey-blue above Belfast. / Perhaps if I'd stayed behind / And lived it bomb by bomb / I might have grown up at last / And learnt what is meant by home."
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