Derek Mahon, Belfast-born giant of Irish poetry, dies aged 78

Poet famed for A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford and his coronavirus poem Everything Is Going to be All Right, has died after a short illness

Derek Mahon, the Belfast-born poet who became an immense figure of Irish poetry with poems such as A Disused Shed in Co Wexford and Courtyards in Delft, has died at the age of 78 after a short illness.

Mahon, whose poetry career spanned a half century, was most often compared to WH Auden, Louis MacNeice and Samuel Beckett, with the critic Brendan Kennelly calling him “a Belfast Keats with a Popean sting”. Several of his poems became staples of school curricula, and, as Ireland locked down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, RTÉ ended its evening news bulletin with Mahon reading his poem Everything Is Going to be All Right, which includes the lines: “There will be dying, there will be dying, / but there is no need to go into that.”

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