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Hay (Faber Poetry) Paperback – 19 Oct 1998

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Amazon Review

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 Samuel 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 Brown's "The Pretender" and 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 exotic. Whether penning rhymed haiku (rhymed haiku?) about placid farm life ("None more dishevelled / than those who seemed most demure. / Our rag-weed revels"), or a pantoum 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Paul Muldoon was born in County Armagh in 1951. He read English at Queen's University, Belfast, and published his first collection of poems, New Weather, in 1973. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Horse Latitudes (2006). Since 1987 he has lived in the United States, where he is the Howard G. B. Clark Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. From 1999 to 2004 he was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Paul Muldoon was given an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in 1996. Other recent awards include the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, and the 2003 Griffin Prize.

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Muldoon's Neighborhood 31 Aug. 2000
By Zeke Camden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Is it possible for one person to be the best American poet and the best Irish poet at the same time? Muldoon certainly lays a strong claim to both titles: his Irishness lends him a musicality far superior to that achieved by most contemporary Americans, while his American side is the source of a far-ranging brashness, an ambition, scope and post- modern adventurousness that makes many Irish poets look rather, well, staid. "Hay" is a brave and experimental volume, more Byronic than ironic (though there's plenty of both) that takes place in a mostly domestic setting. As Muldoon wanders around his house and neighborhood and reports on what passes before his eyes and through his mind, the reader is treated to a wild and ceaseless cinematic display that is at times violent, at times kooky, not infrequently nostalgic, and often reminiscent of of Borges, Rilke, or Berryman (not to mention Kurosawa, Kubrick, and Scorsese.) "Long Finish" probably is the most moving piece here, one of the best love poems of the last ten or twenty years, while "The Bangle, Slight Return" is is an intriguing crossword slash jigsaw puzzle that promises boundless entertainment and befuddlement. This book should be sold in airports, distributed free to hotel rooms . . . it's groovy, baby!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Delightful 8 Nov. 2001
By S. R. Segrist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the opportunity of hearing a reading by Paul Muldoon last spring and this semester I'm taking a writing of poetry class. I had to do a presentation on a living poet and I picked up one of his latest collections and it's like the title of this review, delightful. There are so many different styles of eccentric poems in this one collection and some that contain such obscure literary references that it invokes a sense of bewilderment and leads to a trail of website-hunting to figure out what he's talking about. But it's okay, because many of the poems can be enjoyed at face value, but if you want to dig deeper you can. He's one dang clever guy and this collection is definitely enjoyable.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Paul Muldoon: Hay 7 July 2000
By david staniunas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The poems of _Hay_, apart from being a comprehensive catalogue of poetic forms -- each with Muldoon's characteristic out-Byroning of Byron -- contain moments when coy formal play is no longer a barrier to sense, but which make Muldoon's meaning more poignant. One realizes that his words _feel_; they are not, however, fraught with meaning, nor are they wound up in the easy melodrama of "the Troubles," of childrearing, or of being middle-aged. His aural and visual twists and tricks exist not as their own purpose, but to define the beautiful and chaotic moments of the poet's recent life, and to tie it, by assonance perhaps, to ours. Read and memorize "Long Finish" for the good of your psyche.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hay? 7 April 2005
By Amanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An Irish Professor at Princeton, Paul Muldoon wrote a book called "Hay". Muldoon is said to be one of the most inventive poets of this day and age. Paul Muldoon seemingly is so unpredictable at times that he stirs up problems with his readers and critics. Muldoon's 90 Haiku is just an example of his unique works. Muldoon has the ability to create a poem out of anything, but instead on enlightening his readers, he tends to confuse them.

In "Hopewell Haiku", Muldoon seems to set up this piece by changing seasons in every couple haikus. He says so much in so few words. Paul Muldoon uses a vast vocabulary in "Hay" that may be unfamiliar to his average audience. Actually, having a dictionary handy is mandatory to even slightly understand some of Muldoon's works!

Muldoon excels in technique and I don't think he'd ever run out of new ways to construct and reconstruct poetry. A very noticeable style to a reader that Muldoon seems to use in a few poems is: ending every sentence in a stanza with the same word. Interestingly enough, the word has a different meaning each time (ex: "....so I learned first hand...the sleight of a hand...writing in open hand")! Another slick format that Muldoon uses in "Hay" is the use of "Hybrid Proverbs" to put together an entire poem. He some how takes all different sayings that one may have heard some time during their lifetime, puts them all together, and they make sense! This is exactly proof of why they say he's unpredictable in his style and language.

Hay has its good aspects. It's more suitable for a more advanced poet than a beginner. It's also for a person who finds pleasure from unraveling the hidden secrets of difficult material. Muldoon is a very talented, more advanced poet. Hay" is worth reading, if not to understand, then to experience the vast techniques and styles of Paul Muldoon.
Clearer (relatively speaking) and a bit more accessible 11 April 2005
By John L Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
...Than Muldoon's other recent volumes. Not to say it's an easy read. Bits of the Irish language, proverbs, Celtic legend, Japanese and native American lore, Hiberno-English, allusions and elisions packed with every poem, this collection does echo, as the publisher's blurb suggests, a bit of Muldoon's adapted state of New Jersey's forebear William Carlos Williams at times. His translations of the old Irish verse Pangur Ban and two Rilke poems show that he's skilled at rendering into solidity other voices besides the many within his own imagination tumbling forth here in typically erudite and rather daunting fashion.

Sleeve notes--inspired by on various rock albums anticipates Nick Hornby's essays on rock songs by a few years, and Muldoon's growing immersion in his American surroundings and family life makes for entertaining, if again often puzzling, explorations. This book's best read following Madoc and The Annals of Chile, for it builds upon relationships established in these previous collections, which are even more challenging than the usually briefer forays into the metaphorical and metaphysical here, one of the best of which begins the book.

"The Mudroom" casts about a heap of junk and treasure to uncover ancient Judaic archetypes within a country shed--just one example of the juxtapositions Muldoon's mind works within to create disturbing as well as enlightening scenarios that linger and jumble in the mind after you close these dense if terse pages.
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