Poems, The (1961 To 2020)
The Poems (1961-2020) comprises, in their final form, all the poems Derek Mahon wished to preserve. It includes recognized masterpieces, the early ‘Afterlives’ and ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’, two extended sequences, ‘New York Time’ and ‘Decadence’, meditations such as ‘Harbour Lights’ and ‘Dreams of a Summer Night’, the heartrending ‘Monochrome’ and his windfall collections, Against the Clock and Washing Up, the latter completed in the weeks before his death last year.
The book records, with formal panache and imaginative sweep, his native province’s ‘Troubles’, his personal travails and urgent concerns for the health of our planet. At once classical and current, these poems speak to their moments. The book culminates in ‘the serenity / which for a lifetime had eluded’ him. The Poems (1961-2020) is a grand occasion in contemporary literature and its contents are models of their art. This is a book for the ages.
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