Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The End of the Poem

The End of the Poem

Oxford Lectures

Paul Muldoon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon, "the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War" (The Times Literary Supplement), presents engaging, rigorous, and insightful explorations of a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's "All Souls' Night" to Stevie Smith's "I Remember" to Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography." Here 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 freestanding, discrete structure, or must it always interface with the whole of its author's bibliography—and biography? Muldoon explores the boundlessness, the illimitability, 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." And he writes of the boundaries or borders between writer and reader and the extent to which one determines the role of the other.

At the end, 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, deeply learned, often funny, and always stimulating, The End of the Poem is a vigorous and accessible approach to looking at poetry anew.

EXCERPT

The End of the Poem

CHAPTER 1
ALL SOULS' NIGHT
W. B. YEATS
Midnight 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...

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

“[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

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

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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

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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