International Perspectives in the Poetry of Derek Mahon
Tinley, Bill (1991) International Perspectives in the Poetry of Derek Mahon. Irish University Review, 21 (1). pp. 106-117.
Derek Mahon has always operated outside the comfortable and comforting confines of Irish poetry. In an inyerview with Harriet Cooke, he has said that Irish Writers "should be judged by London, New York standards", in effect distancing himself from the Irish literary scene. On the one hand, Mahon dislikes the cosiness of a literature which does not look beyond its immediate enviroment, which does not search for the major theme among the minor ones: on the other, he is attracted to an art which transcends its localism without compromising the integrity of its sources, work by writers such as Tate, Faulkner and Camus. If we find an unusal degree of cosmopolitanism in Mahon's poetry, therefore, it is not because he wants to desert the unfashionably provincial for the appeal of the international but because his yearning for the major theme masks a commitment to brightening and making sense of the chaos of home.
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