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Paul McMahon profile

Poet, songwriter, playwright, and editor.

Winner of this year’s Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Prize, 2023, Paul was also awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy and The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize by Neil Astley. His debut poetry chapbook, Bourdon, was published by Southword Editions. 

"These poems are strongly visual. They seem to me like trailers for film thrillers — a key scene, an event, compelling and clear; and big universal themes — love, death, violence, crippling loss, and yet everything is so beautifully vivid that the richness of detail is in itself a celebration".

- Helena Nelson, SPHINX

"Paul Mc Mahon's Bourdon tells an involving, passionate story, which begins with the intimate account of a girl: 'the tumeric aroma of her, /still on my hands.' The telling darkens in a cryptic poem about a child: 'everything we'd lost'. But the story's ending explodes into unexpected colour. The jug 'that you flung against the wall before finally leaving', is mended 'with melted gold.' The speaker recalls this lover 'holding a yellow flower of gorse to my nose /telling me to breathe in the scent of coconut'. The lines sweep on, a lit wave of loss and longing." 

Alison Brackenbury, 

The PN Review, Issue 235


"Paul McMahon is a poet with a very rare gift.”

Matthew Sweeney

"My first encounter with McMahon’s poetry was at the launch of Bourdon at Ó’Bhéal’s Winter Warmer Festival in 2016. I still remember the energy in the room, that silence that comes over a crowd paying close attention. 


Bourdon is a meditation on memory and ritual, the mental snapshots we pore over and the things we do to honour the people and experiences we carry within us. 


Bourdon has a consistent voice and specific thematic concerns, making it an experience where everything feels connected. This is a chapbook you can truly become immersed in."

James O’Leary

Southword, Issue 34

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