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6 February 2020
... the egg sacs of lice-eating spiders.This ‘time-release packet’ is just one example of what Muldoon describes elsewhere in the collection as ‘future-proofing’ (‘Once we relied on a hoard//of seed that had been sacked/and saved’). We are being asked to think about poems as vessels that can carry us over the flood. And also not to think about them ...
7 February 1980
... This is no dream By Dulac out of the Brothers Grimm, A child’s aloof disquiet, Her impish mouth, The quilt upon embroidered quilt Of satin and shot silk, Her lying there, at several removes, Like cream on milk. This is the dream of her older sister, Who is stretched on the open grave Of all the men she has known. Far down, something niggles. The stir Of someone still alive ...


Paul Muldoon

8 February 1990
... I was rooting through tea-chest after tea-chest as they drifted in along Key West when I chanced on ‘Pythagoras in America’; the book had fallen open at a bookmark of tea; a tassel of black watered silk from a Missal: a tea-bird’s black tail-feather. All I have in the house is some left-over squid cooked in its own ink and this unfortunate cup of tea ...

Two Poems

Paul Muldoon

1 December 1983
... The Brownlows Were loyal and steadfast, like granite against the sea: ‘The only thing that ran in our family was the greyhound.’ The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife I might as well be another guest at the wedding-feast of Strongbow and Aoife Mac Murrough as watch you, Mary, try to get to grips with a spider-crab’s crossbow and cuirass. A creative pause before the second course of Ireland’s whole ox on a spit; the invisible waitress brings us each a Calvados and water-ice ...

from Last Poems

Paul Muldoon

19 February 1981
... iv Not that I care who’s sleeping with whom now she’s had her womb removed, now it lies in its own glar like the last beetroot in the pickle-jar. v I would have it, were I bold, without relish, my own lightly-broiled heart on the side. xiii I would be happy in the knowledge that as I laboured up the no-through-road towards your cottage you ran to meet me ...


Paul Muldoon

24 October 1991
... Be that as it may, I’m wakened by the moans not of the wind nor the wood-demons but Oscar Mac Oscar, as we call the hound who’s wangled himself into our bed; ‘Why?’ ‘Why not?’ He lies between us like an ancient quoof with a snout of perished gutta- percha, and whines at something on the roof.                § I’m suddenly mesmerised by what I saw only today: a pair of high-heels abandoned on the road to Amherst ...
7 February 1985
... If the houses in Wyeth’s Christina’s World and Mallick’s Days of Heaven are triremes, yes, triremes riding the ‘sea of grain’, then each has a little barge in tow – a freshly-dug grave. I was trying to remember, Nancy, how many New England graveyards you own, all silver birch and neat, white picket-fences. If only that you might make room for a nine-banded armadillo found wandering in Meath sometime in the 1860s; a man-ox, a fish with three gold teeth described by Giraldus Cambrensis ...

The Bannisters

Paul Muldoon

2 April 2020
... Our ornamental gates and railings that were melted downfor rifle barrels have gained some sort of posthumous renownby unambiguously drawing a line in the sand.The gates and railings are finally taking a firm standand even more emphatically bringing things to a close.The exit wound is their approximation of a roseor a geranium under gauze on the windowsill ...
3 February 2000
... Archimedes’ first words were ‘Stand away from my diagram.’ Sir Richard Burton’s first word was ‘Chloroform.’ Chang’s first words were ‘I don’t want to go to bed.’ Alexandre Dumas’s first words were ‘I shall never know how it all comes out.’ Thomas Edison’s first words were ‘It is very beautiful over there.’ John Ford’s first words were ‘May I please have a cigar?’ Ulysses S ...
13 September 2018
... It wasn’t meant to be like this. If we were destined to push the envelope surely it was by flying a recovered Avro Arrow above the speed of sound? The most we were meant to condemn was the brief resurgence of Day-Glo in a thistle flower, given how we routinely forsook such dazzle for the drear. That was before spring itself was a no-show. The fact of global warming, we must now concede, has left us barely a coast to hug ...

In the Gasworks

David Wheatley

18 May 2000
To Ireland, I 
by Paul Muldoon.
Oxford, 150 pp., £19.99, March 2000, 0 19 818475 1
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by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £7.99, February 1999, 0 571 19762 0
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The Birds 
translated by Paul Muldoon, by Richard Martin.
Gallery Press, 80 pp., £13.95, July 1999, 1 85235 245 0
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Reading Paul Muldoon 
by Clair Wills.
Bloodaxe, 222 pp., £10.95, October 1998, 1 85224 348 1
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... can walk through walls, would have interested Thomas Caulfield Irwin (1823-92). Irwin is cited in Paul Muldoon’s To Ireland, I for a neighbourly dispute he was having with one John O’Donovan. ‘He says I am his enemy,’ Irwin wrote, ‘and watch him through the thickness of the wall which divides our houses. One of us must leave. I have a houseful ...
25 February 1993
... Book VI Lines 313-381 All the more reason, then, that men and women should go in fear of Leto, their vengeful, vindictive numen, and worship the mother of Apollo and Artemis all the more zealously. This last tale of the demise of Niobe brought others to mind, inspiring no less zeal among the storytellers. ‘On the fertile soil of Lycia,’ one began, ‘the peasants, too, would scorn Leto and pay the price ...
21 September 1995
... MotoringTom PaulinOr Charlus as McGahern would call youwhen we stacked up stories with Heaney– all fun a great geg pure pleasureI’d think of this village near Donegal town– Mountcharlus they say in those partsnot Mountcharleswhich was how one editor at Faberused to sign every letter he sent(was it Dunn who wonderedhad you somehow acquired a peerage?)then I’d try hard to tracethe Burma Campaign the war woundelocution lessons All Soulsthe office it’s a long way from Co ...

Someone Else

Adam Phillips: Paul Muldoon

4 January 2007
The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures on Poetry 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 406 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 571 22740 6
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Horse Latitudes 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 107 pp., £14.99, October 2006, 0 571 23234 5
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... Paul Muldoon excluded himself from Contemporary Irish Poetry, his 1986 Faber anthology, but he included a poem by Seamus Heaney that was dedicated to him. We don’t of course know why the poem was dedicated to him, or indeed whether it is in any sense about him. It is a suggestive poem about what the living can get from the dead: Widgeon For Paul Muldoon It had been badly shot ...
12 January 1995
The Annals of Chile 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 191 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 0 571 17205 9
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... half-jokingly inquired soon after the IRA’s ceasefire was announced. One would imagine that Paul Muldoon will be among the Northern Irish poets least directly affected by whatever happens – or doesn’t – in the Province. His poetry has always reflected political events in the most delicate of styles, avoiding overt judgments, sentimental ...

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