The essays in this book testify to the fascination of Paul Muldoon’s poems, and also to their underlying contentiousness. The contributors see Muldoon from many different angles – biographical, formal, literary-historical, generic – but also direct attention to complex moments of creativity in which an extraordinary amount of originality is concentrated, and on the clarity of which a lot depends. In their different ways, all of the essays return to the question of what a poem can ‘tell’ us, whether about its author, about itself, or about the world in which it comes into being. The contributors, even in the degree to which they bring to light areas of disagreement about Muldoon’s strengths and weaknesses, continue a conversation about what poems (and poets) can tell us which Paul Muldoon’s work has made both compelling and fruitful.
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