Poems 1968-1998

Paul Muldoon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

496 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book

This diverse, impressive, and vast collection—comprising Muldoon's first eight volumes—finds a great poet reinventing himself at every turn. "He is a shape-shifting Proteus to readers who try to pin him down," as Richard Eder has observed. "Those who interrogate Muldoon's poems find themselves changing shapes each time he does . . . authentically touched or delighted." Muldoon, whom the Times Literary Supplement has called "the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War," situates readers in a richly mutable climate in which each period brings—as his first volume was aptly entitled—new weather.


Praise for Poems 1968-1998

"A massive achievement, persistently inventive at every stage."—The Economist

"[Muldoon is] the dazzling, elusive (and allusive) . . . master of indirection, suggestion, diversion, and surprise."—The New York Times Book Review

"The poet's poet of his generation . . . He has created one of the tumultuous and engrossing bodies of work still in progess."—Lachlan Mackinnon, The Daily Telegraph (London)

"Muldoon has enfranchised a whole generation of poets, by freeing them into his own brand of linguistic euphoria. But what sets him apart from his imitators, and raises him above them, is his imaginative scope and daring . . . He is a fabulous poet."—Stephen Romer, The Guardian

"Muldoon seems to me one of the five or so best poets alive; to most of Britain and Ireland, he seems the single most influential."—Stephen Burt, Boston Review

"The best, most-honored Irish poet of the generation after Heaney, 'the man who could rhyme knife with fork' (as another poet quipped), Muldoon finds his collected work seeing print a few months before his 50th birthday . . . Though it includes no new poems, this big brick of a volume does make available several long-out-of-print early books, and it serves better than Muldoon's older selecteds to reveal the full range of his prodigious talents. There is the Frostian, anecdotal Muldoon of early work like 'The Big House' . . . There is the evasive, tough-guy Muldoon who wrote narrative poems, like 'The More a Man Has the More a Man Wants,' about terror and gangsters in his native Ulster. There is the brilliantly canny and understatedly moving family elegist. There is the Muldoon whose oeuvre includes all shades of romantic and erotic emotion, from sexual disgust ('Aisling') to long-married tenderness ('Long Finish'). There is the writer of serious, terse, effective political verse, the author of 100 haiku about suburban New Jersey, and the Muldoon who recreated the sonnet in his own image. And, most famously, there is the postmodern comic, who claims to be 'my own stunt double,' and who explains in another recent poem: 'A bird in the hand is better than no bread. / To have your cake is to pay Paul.' Muldoon (who now teaches at Princeton and Oxford) may yet expand his range even further; for now, the Muldoons are all here, in force and in bulk. Most readers of poetry will need to deal with them."—Publishers Weekly

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The early electric people had domesticated the wild ass.

They knew all about falling off.

Occasionally they would have fallen out of the trees.

Climbing again, they had something to prove

To their...

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  • Paul Muldoon

  • Paul Muldoon was born in Northern Ireland in 1951. He lives with his family in New Jersey, where he chairs the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. In 1999 he was elected Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford.

  • Paul Muldoon Peter Cook