Derek Mahon

(1941 / Belfast)

Biography of Derek Mahon

Derek Mahon poet

Derek Mahon (born 23 November 1941) is a Northern Irish poet. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Mahon was born the only child of Ulster Protestant working class parents. His father and grandfather worked at Harland and Wolff while his mother worked at a local flax mill. During his childhood, he claims he was something of a solitary dreamer, comfortable with his own company yet aware of the world around him. Interested in literature from an early age, he attended Skegoneill Primary school and then the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
At Inst he encountered fellow students who shared his interest in literature and poetry. The school produced a magazine to which Mahon produced some of his early poems. According to the critic Hugh Haughton his early poems were highly fluent and extraordinary for a person so young.

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Courtyards in Delft

-Pieter de Hooch, 1659

(for Gordon Woods)

Oblique light on the trite, on brick and tile-
Immaculate masonry, and everywhere that
Water tap, that broom and wooden pail
To keep it so. House-proud, the wives
Of artisans pursue their thrifty lives

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