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The End of the Poem

Oxford Lectures

Paul Muldoon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon dazzlingly explores a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's "All Souls' Night" to Stevie Smith's "I Remember" to Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography." Muldoon reminds us that the word "poem" comes, via French, from the Latin and Greek: "a thing made or created." He asks: Can a poem ever be a free-standing structure, or must it always interface with the whole of its author's bibliography--and biography? Muldoon explores the boundlessness created by influence, what Robert Frost meant when he insisted that "the way to read a poem in prose or verse is in the light of all the other poems ever written."

Finally, Muldoon returns to the most fruitful, and fraught, aspect of the phrase "the end of the poem": the interpretation that centers on the "aim" or "function" of a poem, and the question of whether or not the end of the poem is the beginning of criticism. Irreverent and deeply learned, The End of the Poem is a vigorous approach to looking at poetry anew.
In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon dazzlingly explores a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's "All Souls' Night" to Stevie Smith's "I Remember" to Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography." Muldoon reminds us that the word "poem" comes, via French, from the Latin and Greek: "a thing made or created." He asks: Can a poem ever be a free-standing structure, or must it always interface with the whole of its author's bibliography--and biography? Muldoon explores the boundlessness created by influence, what Robert Frost meant when he insisted that "the way to read a poem in prose or verse is in the light of all the other poems ever written."

Finally, Muldoon returns to the most fruitful, and fraught, aspect of the phrase "the end of the poem": the interpretation that centers on the "aim" or "function" of a poem, and the question of whether or not the end of the poem is the beginning of criticism. Irreverent and deeply learned, The End of the Poem is a vigorous approach to looking at poetry anew.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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The End of the Poem
CHAPTER 1ALL SOULS' NIGHTW. B. YEATSMidnight has come, and the great Christ Church Bell And many a lesser bell sound through the room; And it is All Souls' Night, And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come; For it is a ghost's right, His element is so fine Being sharpened by his death, To drink from the wine-breath While our gross palates drink from the whole wine. 
I need some mind that, if the cannon sound From every quarter of the world, can stay Wound in mind's pondering As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound; Because I
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REVIEWS

Praise for The End of the Poem

"Without question one of the most inventive poets writing in English today." -Andrew Frisardi, The Boston Sunday Globe

Praise for Moy Sand and Gravel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize:

"[Moy Sand and Gravel] demonstrate[s] why [Muldoon] is regarded by many as the most sophisticated and original poet of his generation . . . dazzling." -Mark Ford, The New York Review of Books

"Certainly one of the most beguiling and delightful of writers." -The Economist

"Moy Sand and Gravel, Muldoon's ninth book of poems in twenty years, shimmers with play, the play of mind, the play of recondite information over ordinary experiences, the play of observation and sensuous detail, of motion upon custom, of Irish and English languages and landscapes, of meter and rhyme." -Peter Davison, The New York Times Book Review

"Paul Muldoon is the most original Irish poet of his generation . . . Muldoon's voice, with its taste for meaty unpronounceables and querulous urgencies, it like no other in contemporary poetry. While it distinguishes him from his acknowledged mentor Seamus Heaney and other brilliant Irish rhetoricians, it also establishes an honored place among them." -William Doreski, Harvard Review
"Without question one of the most inventive poets writing in English today." -Andrew Frisardi, The Boston Sunday Globe

Praise for Moy Sand and Gravel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize:

"[Moy Sand and Gravel] demonstrate[s] why [Muldoon] is regarded by many as the most sophisticated and original poet of his generation . . . dazzling." -Mark Ford, The New York Review of Books

"Certainly one of the most beguiling and delightful of writers." -The Economist

"Moy Sand and Gravel, Muldoon's ninth book of poems in twenty years, shimmers with play, the play of mind, the play of recondite information over ordinary experiences, the play of observation and sensuous detail, of motion upon custom, of Irish and English languages and landscapes, of meter and rhyme." -Peter Davison, The New York Times Book Review

"Paul Muldoon is the most original Irish poet of his generation . . . Muldoon's voice, with its taste for meaty unpronounceables and querulous urgencies, it like no other in contemporary poetry. While it distinguishes him from his acknowledged mentor Seamus Heaney and other brilliant Irish rhetoricians, it also establishes an honored place among them." -William Doreski, Harvard Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Paul Muldoon

  • Paul Muldoon is the author of nine books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Moy Sand and Gravel (FSG, 2002). He teaches at Princeton University and, between 1999 and 2004, was professor of poetry at Oxford University.
  • Paul Muldoon Peter Cook
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The End of the Poem

Oxford Lectures

Paul Muldoon

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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