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Hay: Poems

Muldoon, Paul

84 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374168318 / ISBN 13: 9780374168315
Published by New York, 1998
Condition: Near Fine Soft cover
From Monroe Street Books (Middlebury, VT, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

199 pages. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. As first issued soft cover with dust jacket. Minor rubbing to dust jacket. Otherwise, clean and tight copy. Record # 452015. Bookseller Inventory # 452015

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Hay: Poems

Publisher: New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Muldoon's eighth book of poems--and his most delightful yet.

Writing of Paul Muldoon's last collection, The Annals of Chile, for which he won the T. S. Eliot Prize, Seamus Heaney described him as "one of the era's true originals." A. S. Byatt has spoken of Muldoon as "an original genius, using words in a new way, witty and profound."

That combination of wit and profundity is everywhere apparent in Hay, an extraordinarily vital and various new collection that contains the most open and inviting as well as some of the most satisfying poems Muldoon has ever written. They range from a dream-vision in a New Jersey mudroom to a poem based on English and American proverbs to another taking the form of an errata slip to a sequence of thirty sonnets set in a Paris restaurant where it seems a waiter finds a "muldoon"--a stolen credit card--belonging to Mr. Muldoon.

By turns glorious and gritty, elegant and edgy, this new book is sure to bring even wider acclaim for "the much-laurelled Irish wonder-poet" (The Independent on Sunday, London) who "began as a prodigy and has gone on to become a virtuoso" (Michael Hofmann, The Times, London).


Though Paul Muldoon's voice is thoroughly his own, a taste for turbulent rhythms and fantastical journeys firmly links him with some of our finest poets, most notably Coleridge. In "The Mud Room," the start of this stunning collection, the speaker juxtaposes wildly dissimilar images--Pharaohs and Kikkoman soy sauce, Virgil's Georgics and "cardboard boxes from K-Mart," ziggurats and six-packs. Why? Because in piecing together the whole of our collective human past--the past of Jackson Browne's "The Pretender" on the same page as the past of Epicurus--Muldoon casts a vote for inclusion, a vote against exclusivity and relegation. He travels far to show such close relations. Rather than focus on differences, we're forced to consider a resemblance between rock stars and Pharaohs, and in turn a grander likeness that joins us all.

But in drawing together common connective strands of history, culture, and emotion, Muldoon is anything but general. His language is highly original and searching. He doesn't merely sniff dispassionately at the "otherness" of words; like an excited hound that has discovered the scent of another animal, he rolls vigorously in it--and makes it his own:

So a harum-scarum
bushman, hey, would slash one forearm
with a flint, ho, or a sliver of steel
till it flashed, hey ho, like a hel-

These poems resonate with an easy coexistence of the ordinary and the exotic. Whether he's penning rhymed haiku (rhymed haiku?) about placid farm life ("None more dishevelled / than those who seemed most demure. / Our rag-weed revels") or quatrains about Cracow ("Into the Vistula swollen with rain / you and I might have plunged and found a way / to beat out the black grain / as our forefathers did on threshing day"), Muldoon's words gleam like jewels unearthed from everyday mud. --Martha Silano

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