Paul Muldoon

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Paul Muldoon
Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon (born June 20, 1951) is a poet from County Armagh, Northern Ireland.


  • 1 Life and work
  • 2 Publications
  • 3 Awards
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Reference
  • 6 External links

Life and work

Muldoon's poetry is known for difficulty, allusion, casual use of extremely obscure or archaic words, understated wit, punning, and deft technique in meter and slant rhyme. Muldoon has lived in the United States since 1987; he teaches at Princeton University and is an Honorary Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. He held the chair of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University for the five-year term 1999–2004, and he is an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford.

Until recently, Muldoon was often thought of as the second-most-eminent living poet in Northern Ireland, living in the shadow of his friend Seamus Heaney; but his reputation has grown since he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His other honours include fellowships in the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, and the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry. He has two children - Dorothy and Asher - and lives in Griggstown, New Jersey.


In 2006, Muldoon's published books (with major collections starred) were:

  • Knowing My Place (1971)
  • New Weather (1973)*
  • Spirit of Dawn (1975)
  • Mules (1977)*
  • Names and Addresses (1978)
  • Immram (1980)
  • The O-O's Party, New Year's Eve (1980)
  • Why Brownlee Left (1980)*
  • Out of Siberia (1982)
  • Quoof (1983)*
  • The Wishbone (1984)
  • Paul Muldoon: Selected Poems 1968-1983 (1986)*
  • Meeting the British (1987)*
  • Madoc: A Mystery (1990)*
  • The Annals of Chile (1994)*
  • The Prince of the Quotidian (1994)
  • Six Honest Serving Men (1995)
  • Kerry Slides (with photographs by Bill Doyle) (1996)
  • New Selected Poems: 1968-1994 (1996)*
  • Hopewell Haiku (1997)
  • Hay (1998)*
  • Poems 1968-1998 (2001)*
  • Moy Sand and Gravel (2002)* (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the 2003 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • Medley for Morin Khur (2005)
  • Sixty Instant Messages to Tom Moore (2005)
  • Horse Latitudes (2006)* (shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize)
  • General Admission (2006)

Most of these volumes were collections of shorter poems. Often a single and considerably longer poem is placed at the end of a volume. Muldoon's most recent collections have, however, included more than one long poem.

Madoc: A Mystery, among Muldoon's most difficult works, is a book-length poem, which some consider Muldoon's masterpiece. It narrates in fractured sections an alternate history in which Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey come to America in order to found a utopian community. (The poets had, in reality, discussed but never undertaken this journey; the title comes from Southey's poem Madoc, about a legendary Welsh prince of that name.)

Muldoon has contributed the librettos for four operas by American composer Daron Hagen: Shining Brow (1992), Vera of Las Vegas (1996), Bandanna, the opera (1998), and The Antient Concert (2005).

Muldoon has also edited a number of anthologies, written two children's books, translated the work of other authors, and published critical prose. These are, respectively:

  • The Scrake of Dawn: Poems by Young People from Northern Ireland (1979)
  • The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry (1986)
  • The Faber Book of Beasts (1997)
  • The Oxford and Cambridge May Anthologies 2000: Poetry (2000)
  • The Best American Poetry 2005 (with David Lehman) (2005)
  • The Last Thesaurus (1996)
  • The Noctuary of Narcissus Batt (1997)
  • The Astrakhan Cloak / Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (translator) (1992)
  • The Birds / adaptation after Aristophanes (1999)
  • The End of the Poem: 'All Souls Night' by WB Yeats (lecture) (2000)
  • To Ireland, I (2000)
  • The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures in Poetry (2006)


Muldoon has won the following major poetry awards:[1]

  • 1992: Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for Madoc: A Mystery
  • 1994: T. S. Eliot Prize for The Annals of Chile
  • 1997: Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry for New Selected Poems 1968–1994
  • 2002: T. S. Eliot Prize (shortlist) for Moy Sand and Gravel
  • 2003: Griffin Poetry Prize (Canada) for Moy Sand and Gravel
  • 2003: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Moy Sand and Gravel
  • 2004: American Ireland Fund Literary Award
  • 2004: Aspen Prize for Poetry
  • 2004: Shakespeare Prize

See also

  • List of Northern Ireland writers


  1. ^ From Paul Muldoon at
  • Faber and Faber — Paul Muldoon's UK publisher
  • Griffin Poetry Prize biography, including audio clip
  • Shining Brow Opera official website
  • Bandanna Opera official website
  • Vera of Las Vegas Opera official website
  • Word Freak - Profile in New York Times Magazine
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