Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry
Co-winner of the 2003 Griffin Poetry Prize
From "the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War" (The Times Literary Supplement) comes a book of verse that extends from the rivery, apple-heavy County Armagh of the 1950s, where Paul Muldoon was brought up, to suburban New Jersey, on the banks of a canal dug by Irish navvies, where he now lives.
Grounded, glistening, as gritty as they are graceful, these poems seem capable of taking in almost anything, and anybody, be it a Tuareg glimpsed on the Irish border, Bessie Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth I, a hunted hare, William Tell, William Butler Yeats, Sitting Bull, Ted Hughes, an otter, a fox, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Joscelyne, an unearthed pit pony, a loaf of bread, an outhouse, a killdeer, Oscar Wilde, or a flock of redknots.
At the heart of Moy Sand and Gravel is an elegy for a miscarried child, and that elegiac tone predominates these pages, particularly in the elegant remaking of Yeats's "A Prayer for My Daughter," which concludes the book. In this long and winding—and brilliantly associative—last poem, a welter of traffic signs and slogans, along with the spirits of admen, hardware storekeepers, flimflammers, fixers, and other forebears, are borne along by a hurricane-swollen canal, and private grief coincides with some of the gravest matter of our age.