Niall McDevitt: Death of a True Bohemian, An Utterly Authentic Poet

Niall McDevitt: Death of a True Bohemian, An Utterly Authentic Poet

Niall McDevitt  has died. This is both a terribly sad and barely possible statement to make, because of all the writers and poets I know in London, Niall was the most mystical, stylish, witty, handsome and Bohemian - he essentially breathed and spoke poetry, in a rich resonant voice - and his entire ethos was singed with an acute integrity of vision. McDevitt was Irish, and adrift in Soho and more broadly all of London, but especially the haunts of Blake, Rimbaud, Baudelaire.

He was the best-dressed Bohemian imaginable - always in a suit, often with dark specs, like Under The Volcano was around the corner, or Burroughs was. A denizen of the London underground scene, he nonetheless surfaced often, to conduct psychogeography tours, play his bodhran, and recite or sing his potent poems - at the Poetry Café, in subterranean events, anywhere poets gathered - sometimes satirical, sometimes bawdy, always aimed at celebrating the life force against the world's cretins. He was utterly Blakean - and very funny, smart and talented.

He exuded poetry, and the quest for truth and beauty in the romantic sublime. I didn't know him well, but I loved the idea of him, and always fully enjoyed performing with him, or hearing him perform. I can't think of a truer living poet. He was beyond being a good or bad poet - he was a great poetry figure. He always seemed so much more vividly present and engaged than any other performers - more dedicated to reaching a state of higher intensity. I am so sad he has died. Condolences to his family. - Todd Swift, publisher and poet

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.