Mahon Notes

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Mahon.
Fellow Classmates, I would like to introduce you today to the Poetry of Derek Mahon. I must say I really like his poetry. Whereas too many poets are content simply to just go on and on about the “feelings”, Mahon engages with the world beyond himself. His poems deal with history and its victims, detailing their plight in a way that I found to be both compassionate and truly moving. I also liked the way his work focuses on individuals from history who are trapped in extreme and desperate situations, whose minds are at the “end of their tether”. Paradoxically, perhaps, by shifting to focus away from himself and by avoiding the discussion of his own feelings, Mahon produces work that bristles with compassion, sympathy and empathy. Derek Mahon has a distinctive style to his poetry. He conveys many impressive techniques and one of these is his ability to give a voice to the voiceless using poetry. Mahon does this in such a deep way using metaphorical imagery, similes and personification that the reader ends up entranced and bewildered as to how both the initial scene and the actual meaning are remotely connected. Mahon does this in many poems including ‘’After The Titanic’’ and ‘’Antarctica’’ After the Titanic”, also surprises us by presenting that well-known tragedy from an unfamiliar point of view. Here, we are taken into the mind of Bruce Ismay,the ship’s manager who was “Humbled at the inquiry” into that tragic incident and declared to be the villain of the piece. Mahonallows us to witness first hand the suffering and humiliation this man endured as his “costly life” went “thundering down” into the oceans bottom, and I felt real emotion when he beseeches us to “include me in your lamentations”
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