We are sorry to report that Derek Mahon, among the most celebrated of modern Northern Irish poets, died in Cork on 1 October 2020, following a short illness. He was 78. Mahon’s poem, ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’, is often chosen as a ‘desert island poem’, and his poem ‘Everything is Going to be All Right’, in a memorable reading by Andrew Scott, has been one to which many have turned during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A presence in The Poetry Review over decades, we’re glad to be able to present here the interview he gave to William Scammell in summer 1991, in an issue of the Review devoted to contemporary Irish poetry. Mahon is introduced in this piece as a “pivotal figure… the inheritor of Auden and MacNeice’s tough lyricism, and one of the great generation of Northern Irish poets, alongside Heaney and Longley”.
A longer tribute will be published soon.