The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures (Paperback)
In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon dazzlingly explores a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's "All Souls' Night" to Stevie Smith's "I Remember" to Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography." Muldoon reminds us that the word "poem" comes, via French, from the Latin and Greek: "a thing made or created." He asks: Can a poem ever be a free-standing structure, or must it always interface with the whole of its author's bibliography—and biography? Muldoon explores the boundlessness created by influence, what Robert Frost meant when he insisted that "the way to read a poem in prose or verse is in the light of all the other poems ever written."
Finally, Muldoon returns to the most fruitful, and fraught, aspect of the phrase "the end of the poem": the interpretation that centers on the "aim" or "function" of a poem, and the question of whether or not the end of the poem is the beginning of criticism. Irreverent and deeply learned, The End of the Poem is a vigorous approach to looking at poetry anew.
“Without question one of the most inventive poets writing in English today.” —Andrew Frisardi, The Boston Sunday Globe
“[Moy Sand and Gravel] demonstrate[s] why [Muldoon] is regarded by many as the most sophisticated and original poet of his generation . . . dazzling.” —Mark Ford, The New York Review of Books
“Moy Sand and Gravel, Muldoon's ninth book of poems in twenty years, shimmers with play, the play of mind, the play of recondite information over ordinary experiences, the play of observation and sensuous detail, of motion upon custom, of Irish and English languages and landscapes, of meter and rhyme.” —Peter Davison, The New York Times Book Review