Showing posts from June, 2007

The End of the Poem

Paul Muldoon, The End of the Poem, Oxford Lectures on Poetry. (Faber and Faber, 2007), UK £25.

How do you write about poetry? And when you write about poetry, who are you writing for? Paul Muldoon’s book gathers the fifteen hour long lectures he delivered during his Oxford professorship, so the initial audience would presumably have been largely an academic one. The tone and pitch of these talks reflect that; there’s an elaborate cleverness and often an archness of address as Muldoon plays with the forms of academic discourse. But it’s very much also a book for readers of Muldoon’s poetry: its methods, ifs shifts and feints, its teasing humour, its incessant connection-making, are precisely those of the poems. The poetry lover will segue easily from Horse Latitudes to The End of the Poem and the voice and the territory will be comfortingly familiar. Muldoon’s first decision was to to focus each of these lectures on a single poem, which makes for a pleasing structure, and promises th…