Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Paul Muldoon Birthday Reading


A poetical celebration of Paul Muldoon’s birth, life and poetry.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble Bookseller
3311 Tittabawassee Rd.
Saginaw , MI 48603
phone 989.790.9214

Who should come
Join us if you love poetry or are curious as to what poetry is all about. Join us if you'd like to talk to people whose hearts and minds are more open than closed. Join us if you can agree or disagree with someone's opinion respectfully. Bring a book if you can. It’s OK if it’s from your library. Note: Paul Muldoon will not be joining our group.

Find out what poems sound like out loud. Listen in on the group and then find a place where you can jump in and read something yourself. Great fun for the whole family. If you have specialized knowledge regarding our poet, do not hesitate to regale us with your story. Don't expect to leave our event with a definitive understanding of the poet or the poems but please do seek to experience and communicate the joys of poetry with others. Join in our informal discussion of poems we know and love and poems we are only just discovering. Better readers make better writers. Visit with our group where everyone's poetry is valued if not appreciated. If you have a smile to share be sure to bring it; otherwise be prepared to leave with one on your face and in your heart. If you're too far away to join us, create your own Birthdays of Poets Reader’s Workshop. Speak up now and forever share your peace. Tell (bring!) a friend.

How to find the organizer(s)
We are in the Poetry section, near the window that affords a view of Tittabawassee Road. The staff at Barnes & Noble will put up a sign that says 'This space reserved for The River Junction Poets at 7 p.m.' We'll be getting a few folding chairs to add around the coffee table there.


Paul Muldoon was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and educated in Armagh and at the Queen's University of Belfast. From 1973 to 1986 he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Since 1987 he has lived in the United States. He teaches poetry at Princeton University. ...

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Paul Muldoon was given an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature for 1996. ... He has been described in The Times Literary Supplement as "the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War."

From accessed 6/10/08.

Paul Muldoon is married to the writer Jean Hanff Korelitz. He has two children - Dorothy and Asher - and lives in Griggstown, New Jersey.

from accessed 6/10/08.


Forty years in the wilderness
of Antrim and Fermanagh
where the rime would deliquesce

like tamarisk-borne manna

and the small-shot of hail
was de-somethinged. Defrosted.
This is to say nothing of the flocks of quail
now completely exhausted

from having so long entertained an
inordinately soft spot for the hard man
like Redmond O'Hanlon or Roaring Hanna

who delivers himself up only under duress
after forty years in the wilderness
of Antrim and Fermanagh.

From accessed 6/10/08.

In September 2007, [Muldoon] was hired as poetry editor of The New Yorker.

Muldoon has contributed the librettos for four operas by Daron Hagen: Shining Brow (1992), Vera of Las Vegas (1996), Bandanna (1998), and The Antient Concert (2005). His interests have not only included libretto, but the rock lyric as well, penning lines for the Handsome Family as well as the late Warren Zevon whose titular track "My Ride's Here" belongs to a Muldoon collaboration. Muldoon also writes lyrics for (and plays "rudimentary rhythm" guitar in) his own Princeton-based rock band, Rackett.

From accessed 6/10/08.

PAUL MULDOON is primarily the lyric writer for RACKETT, though he seems more and more to be getting the hang of a reissue 1952 butterscotch Telecaster.

From accessed 6/10/08.

Muldoon has written more than ten smaller volumes of poetry, has edited more than ten poetry anthologies and has won nearly ten major literary awards.

From accessed 6/10/08.


by Paul Muldoon

As naught gives way to aught

and oxhide gives way to chain mail

and byrnie gives way to battle-ax

and Cavalier gives way to Roundhead

and Cromwell Road gives way to the Connaught

and I Am Curious (Yellow) gives way to I Am Curious (Blue)

and barrelhouse gives way to Frank’N’Stein

and a pint of Shelley plain to a pint of India Pale Ale

I give way to you.

As bass gives way to baritone

and hammock gives way to hummock

and Hoboken gives way to Hackensack

and bread gives way to reed bed

and bald eagle gives way to Theobald Wolfe Tone

and the Undertones give way to Siouxsie Sioux

and DeLorean, John, gives way to Deloria, Vine,

and Pierced Nose to Big Stomach

I give way to you.

As vent gives way to Ventry

and the King of the World gives way to Finn MacCool

and phone gives way to fax

and send gives way to sned

and Dagenham gives way to Coventry

and Covenanter gives way to caribou

and the caribou gives way to the carbine

and Boulud’s cackamamie to the cock-a-leekie of Boole

I give way to you.

As transhumance gives way to trance

and shaman gives way to Santa

and butcher’s string gives way to vacuum pack

and the ineffable gives way to the unsaid

and pyx gives way to monstrance

and treasure aisle gives way to need-blind pew

and Calvin gives way to Calvin Klein

and Town and Country Mice to Hanta

I give way to you.

As Hopi gives way to Navaho

and rug gives way to rag

and Pax Vobiscum gives way to Tampax

and Tampa gives way to the water bed

and The Water Babies gives way to Worstward Ho

and crapper gives way to loo

and spruce gives way to pine

and the carpet of pine needles to the carpetbag

I give way to you.

As gombeen-man gives way to not-for-profit

and soft soap gives way to Lynn C. Doyle

and tick gives way to tack

and Balaam’s Ass gives way to Mister Ed

and Songs of Innocence gives way to The Prophet

and single-prop Bar-B-Q gives way to twin-screw

and the Salt Lick gives way to the County Line

and “Mending Wall” gives way to “Build Soil”

I give way to you.

As your hummus gives way to your foul madams

and your coy mistress gives way to “The Flea”

and flax gives way to W. D. Flackes

and the living give way to the dead

and John Hume gives way to Gerry Adams

and Television gives way to U2

and Lake Constance gives way to the Rhine

and the Rhine to the Zuider Zee

I give way to you.

As dutch treat gives way to french leave

and spanish fly gives way to Viagra

and slick gives way to slack

and the local fuzz give way to the Feds

and Machiavelli gives way to make-believe

and Howards End gives way to A Room with a View

and Wordsworth gives way to “Woodbine

Willie” and stereo Nagra to quad Niagara

I give way to you.

As cathedral gives way to cavern

and cookie cutter gives way to cookie

and the rookies give way to the All-Blacks

and the shad give way to the smoke shed

and the roughshod give way to the Black Horse avern

that still rings true

despite that T being missing from its sign

where a little nook gives way to a little nookie

when I give way to you.

That Nanook of the North should give way to Man of Aran

as ling gives way to cod

and cod gives way to kayak

and Camp Moosilauke gives way to Club Med

and catamite gives way to catamaran

and catamaran to aluminum canoe

is symptomatic of a more general decline

whereby a cloud succumbs to a clod

and I give way to you.

For as Monet gives way to Juan Gris

and Juan Gris gives way to Joan MirĂ³

and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gives way to Miramax

and the Volta gives way to Travolta, swinging the red-hot lead,

and Saturday Night Fever gives way to Grease

and the Greeks give way to you know who

and the Roman IX gives way to the Arabic 9

and nine gives way, as ever, to zero

I give way to you.

From accessed 6/10/08


by Paul Muldoon

Small wonder

he’s not been sighted all winter;

this old brock’s

been to Normandy and back

through the tunnels and trenches

of his subconscious.

I 1 is father fell victim

to mustard-gas at the Somme;

one of his sons lost a paw

to a gin-trap at Lisbellaw:

another drills

on the Antrim hills’

still-molten lava

in a moth-eaten Balaclava.

An elaborate

system of foxholes and duckboards

leads to the terminal moraine

of an ex-linen baron’s


where he’s part-time groundsman.

I would find it somewhat infra dig

to dismiss him simply as a pig

or heed Gerald of Wales’

tall tales

of badgers keeping badger-slaves.

For when he shuffles

across the esker

I glimpse my grandfather’s whiskers

stained with tobacco-pollen.

When he piddles against a bullaun

I know he carries bovine TB

but what I see

is my father in his Sunday suit’s

bespoke lime and lignite,

patrolling his now-diminished estate

and taking stock of this and that.

From accessed 6/10/08.

Expect more at the Birthdays of Poets Blog. Go now.

All best and see you Wednesday,
Andrew Christ

Legal stuff

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Parting Thoughts
Research indicates that better readers make better writers. Maybe this is why, in the Poet's Market, editors of literary magazines often recommend poets read more poetry. Are you not aware? You are a cultural event, and so is everyone else. Celebrate (poetry) together. May God continue to bless us mightily one and all. Be sure to thank a veteran for his/her service. Remember: only you
can improve the audience for poetry. Please read, discuss and share responsibly. And vote.

-- "It is our goal to appreciate and improve our talents, to share our own work and to communicate the joys of poetry with others. Everyone's poetry is valued."
River Junction Poets Mission Statement

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