Image by Jemimah Kuhfeld

Paul Muldoon

b. 1951


Form is a straitjacket in the way that a straitjacket was a straitjacket for Houdini. Paul Muldoon.

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About Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon is one of Ireland's most outstanding contemporary poets, and
one of the most admired English-language poets anywhere in the world. He
was born into a Catholic family in 1951 in a predominantly Protestant region
of Portadown, County Armagh in Northern Ireland. His father was a farm
labourer and his mother a schoolteacher. Although his family was not
wealthy, he has said in an interview for the BBC that his parents sent him
to elocution lessons as a child, and bought a piano for him and his two
siblings so that they might "improve" themselves.



Muldoon went to St. Patrick's College, where he learned Gaelic and studied
Irish literature, and where he also wrote some of his first poems in Gaelic,
later switching to English to give himself greater linguistic control. Until
he discovered the work of Seamus Heaney and other Irish poets, Muldoon's main early poetic influences were Robert Frost and, in particular, T.S. Eliot.


He studied English at Queen's University of Belfast under Heaney who,
recognizing his precocious talent, arranged for a manuscript to be sent to
Faber. This resulted in the publication of his first full collection New
Weather
in 1973. This collection sprang from his experience of Northern
Irish country life, but also included poems set in America, and references
to popular culture. "That is a part of Eliot that stuck," Muldoon said in an
interview with the Guardian, "If you look at something like The Waste Land,
there are lots of snatches of ballads and songs and the apparently
inconsequential things that we have around us."



Paul Muldoon has since gone on to produce more than 30 collections of poetry and has won many awards including the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. His complex re-shaping of poetic conventions, Joycean word-play,cunning fragmentation of narrative, splicing-together of references to high and popular culture, and generally brilliant playfulness have led him to be called the pre-eminent post-modern poet of the age.



The first part of 'Immram' (the Gaelic for 'voyage', and the central poem
in his 1980 collection Why Brownlee Left) can be heard on this page; it derives from the ancient Irish poem 'Immram Curaig Maele Duin'. The poem works with the Irish vision-quest genre, adapting it to include allusions to a wide variety of other sources, including film noir and Raymond Chandler. It is a dazzling performance, tackling complicated questions of home and identity, and Paul Muldoon reads it here with a compelling mixture of intensity and insouciance.



This recording was made at the Audio Workshop, London on July 3rd 2009 and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Additional material and useful links

Paul Muldoon on poetry and childhood

Paul Muldoon talks to Jack Klaff about his poetry, and discusses his upbringing in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

http://www.intelligencesquared.com/talks/paul-muldoon-on-poetry-and-childhood

Paul Muldoon recording Woodberry Poetry Room

Paul Muldoon reading with Seamus Heaney, Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard.

http://hcl.harvard.edu/poetryroom/listeningbooth/index.cfm#

Paul Muldoon at the Edinburgh Festival 2011

Paul Muldoon: 'I read books on unlikely subjects' - video on the guardian website. The poet Paul Muldoon explains why he prefers reading non-fiction, and sees festivals as a cure for...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/video/2011/aug/28/paul-muldoon-edinburgh-video

Prizes

2009 John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence

2009 John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence

2004 Aspen Prize for Poetry

2004 Aspen Prize for Poetry

2004 Shakespeare Prize

2004 Shakespeare Prize

2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award

2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award

2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry <i>Moy Sand and Gravel</i>

2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry <i>Moy Sand and Gravel</i>

2003 Griffin Poetry Prize (Canada) Moy Sand and Gravel

2003 Griffin Poetry Prize (Canada)<i>Moy Sand and Gravel</i>

2002 (shortlisted) TS Eliot Prize <i>Moy Sand and Gravel</i>

2002 (shortlisted) TS Eliot Prize <i>Moy Sand and Gravel</i>

1997 Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry <i>New Selected Poems 1968–1994</i>

1997 Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry <i>New Selected Poems 1968–1994</i>

1994 TS Eliot Prize <i>The Annals of Chile</i>

1994 TS Eliot Prize <i>The Annals of Chile</i>

1992 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize <i>Madoc: A Mystery</i>

1992 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize <i>Madoc: A Mystery</i>

Selected bibliography

Maggot, Faber and Faber, 2010

The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures: Oxford Lectures in...

(ed)The Scrake of Dawn (Poems by young people from...

(ed)The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry Faber...

Buy

(ed)The Faber Book of Beasts Faber and Faber, 1997

Buy

The Astrakhan Cloak by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill (translation...

Buy

The Birdsby Aristophanes (translation with Richard...

The Fifty Minute Mermaidby Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill (...

Buy

The Drowned Blackbird (translation) Princeton University...

The O-O's Party Gallery Press, 1981

The Last Thesaurus Faber and Faber, 1995

Buy

The Noctuary of Narcissus Batt Faber and Faber, 1997

Reverse Flannery (Magical Tales of Ireland) Random House...

Getting Round: Notes towards an Ars Poetica Essays in...

To Ireland, I The 1998 Clarendon Lectures, Oxford...

The End of the Poem (Oxford Lectures) Farrar, Straus and...

Buy

Monkeys (A television play, directed by Danny Boyle.)...

Shining Brow (An opera in two acts with music by Daron...

Buy

Six Honest Serving Men (A play in one act.) Gallery...

Bandanna (An opera in two acts with music by Daron Hagen...

Buy

Vera of Las Vegas (An opera in one act with music by...

Buy

Knowing My Place Ulsterman Publications, 1971

New Weather Faber and Faber, 1973

Buy

Spirit of Dawn Ulsterman Publications, 1975

Mules Wake Forest University Press, 1977; Faber and...

Buy

Names and Addresses Ulsterman Publications, 1978

Immram Gallery Press, 1980

Why Brownlee Left Wake Forest University Press, 1980;...

Buy

Out of Siberia Gallery Press, 1982

Quoof Wake Forest University Press, 1983; Faber and...

Buy

The Wishbone Gallery Press, 1984

Selected Poems 1968-83 Faber and Faber, 1986

Meeting the BritishWake Forest University Press; 1987...

Buy

Madoc: A Mystery Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990; Faber...

Buy

Selected Poems 1968-86 Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993;...

Incantata Graphic Studio, Dublin, 1994

The Prince of the Quotidian Wake Forest University Press...

Buy

The Annals of ChileFarrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994;...

Buy

Kerry Slides Gallery Press, 1996

Buy

New Selected Poems 1968-94 Faber and Faber, 1996

Hopewell Haiku Warwick Press, 1997

The Bangle (Slight Return) Princeton: The Typography...

Hay Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998; Faber and Faber,...

Buy

Poems 1968-1998 Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001; Faber...

Buy

Unapproved Road Pied Oxen, 2002

Moy Sand And Gravel Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002...

Buy

Medley for Morin KhurEnitharmon Press, 2005

Horse Latitudes Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006, Faber...

Buy

When the Pie Was Opened American University of Paris/...

Buy

Plan B Enitharmon, 2009

Buy

Wayside Shrines Gallery Press, 2009

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