I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Magdalena Kay

Hear the Silence

Derek Mahon is not a poet to calm or ease the mind. He keeps us alert, thinking, in flux. It is hard to accept that ‘Washing Up’ will be his last word. Perhaps this is the greatest gift, that this posthumous volume shows a talent so utterly undiminished, so equal to the challenge of contemporary life.

Into Us to Keep

Seamus Heaney’s Virgil translation was one of a number of posthumous publications, but now it seems there is no more to come. As Auden wrote in memory of Yeats, the poet has become his admirers. And of course there are the poems, on offer here in a new selection by Heaney’s family.

Not at Rest

The mind of Derek Mahon is not, he assures us, one that can be ‘set at rest’. But would we wish it to be? Would we want him free of tension and contradiction and impossible desire? One might as well wish for a placid elder Yeats or a young Auden free of guilt and fear.

Through to Delight

There is a sense of joy in Derek Mahon’s latest collection, which long-time readers may see as a hard-won peace with a world, and a life, that has all too often shown its undelightful side. The brightness of these visions has been earned.

Head-on and Dead-on

Seamus Heaney’s academic intelligence was formidable but he did not try to write, or think, like a typical academic. His connections to other thinkers often seem idiosyncratic and personal, not made to build a rational intellectual structure.

Descent into Darkness

Heaney’s Virgil certainly contains some of the verbal exuberance we associate with him, but some may wonder why there is not more. But Virgil’s Latin is known for its poetic decorum, which Heaney wishes to preserve rather than challenge. His aim is not to confound but to celebrate.