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The Word on the Street [Hardcover]

Paul Muldoon

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Book Description

21 Mar 2013
In this new collection Paul Muldoon goes back to the essential meaning of the term 'lyric' -a short poem sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument. These words are written for music, assuredly, with half an ear to Yeats's ballad-singing porter drinkers and half to Cole Porter-and indeed, many of them double as rock songs, performed by the Wayside Shrines, the Princeton-based music collective of which Muldoon is a member. Their themes are the classic themes of song: lost love, lost wars, Charlton Heston, barbed wire, pole dancers, cellulite, Hegel, elephants, Oedipus, more barbed wire, Buddy Holly, Jersey peaches, Julius Caesar, Trenton, cockatoos, and the Youngers (Bob and John and Jim and Cole).The Word on the Street is a lively addition to this Pulitzer Prize-winning poet's masterful body of work. It demonstrates, once again, that, as Richard Eder has written in the pages of the New York Times Book Review, 'Paul Muldoon is a shape-shifting Proteus to readers who try to pin him down . . . Those who interrogate Muldoon's poems find themselves changing shapes each time he does.'

Frequently Bought Together

The Word on the Street + Songs and Sonnets + Poems 1968-1998
Price For All Three: 31.46

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  • Songs and Sonnets 6.99
  • Poems 1968-1998 16.00

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Praise for "The Word on the Street" "This is still Paul Muldoon. While these lyrics follow a more rigid, verse/chorus/verse structure than many of his poems, there are lines that are heavy with allusions and obsessed with their own creation, as is characteristic of the poet . . . The work in this book mostly resembles the wordy lyrics of another New Jersey poet, Bruce Springsteen . . . What both Mr. Springsteen and Mr. Muldoon seem to realize is that a rock lyric does not have to force its poetic prowess. The 'go-cart Mozarts' and 'racket boys' on the boardwalk of Mr. Springsteen's lyrics occupy the same place as the fact-checker who can't properly trace the root of pilus in Mr. Muldoon's 'News Headlines from the Homer Noble Farm, ' or the barley farmer who abandons his land without a word in 'Why Brownlee Left.' They are symptoms of a larger sadness brewing in the space between the philosophical and the mundane. They want to escape--their town, their class, their lover--but sense the futility of retreat. The nameless band at the center of 'Comeback' had 'no sooner said farewell / Than it was time to reunite.' They end up back in Jersey, playing the Meadowlands, 'just another band / With only two surviving members.'" --Michael H. Miller, "The New York Observer"Praise for Paul Muldoon"The most formally ambitious and technically innovative of modern poets, [Muldoon] writes poems like no one else." --Nick Laird, "The New York Review of Books" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'The most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War.' -Times Literary Supplement

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Different Book 22 July 2013
By Ward Love - Published on
Praise already abounds for the poet that created this volume, so I won't bother adding to that - or taking away from it either! This book is an enigma; the cover catches your eye, with a backwards colored "manhole cover in a street" theme that seems to be metallic (gold) where it should be matte black and vice versa. Hmmm. Then picking up the slim volume, you find that the back cover listed the tracks,er...excuse me, the contents...and is headed with an invitation to visit a website to listen to the songs...I mean poems...Whatever!

This isn't a book jacket; it's a CD - but with opening the cover, you discover that it indeed is composed of words; there is not a note of melody to be heard. Now is the hard part. Reading these small gems of alphabetic construction before giving in to the temptation to just head directly to the website for a quick listen!

And reading the lyrics (After all, the title proclaims that it is "Rock Lyrics.") first is the correct thing to do, prior to heading for the computer or other magical device to access the website and the performed version of the written words. To be sure, I feel that the music, standing on its own would be very nice. But "The Word On The Street" manages to be something this is fresh and delightful. Ultimately, whether you enjoy the lyrics, or you enjoy the sound of the performance online, or you think either or both of them to be a waste of time, you have been drawn into a special place and you have, by your own volition, become a part of the creative process.

You have, in a way, become a poet or a creator of music lyrics and are now vastly more influential than you were just a few moments ago. A "Grammy" must surely follow! I have some experience in this very field, having been involved with "Rock "N' Roll" many, many years ago, as a studio musician, songwriter, music arranger, and, at times, singer. Even, more recently and briefly, a part-time costume and stage set designer and player of the synthesizer and the operator of the mixing board. And, I might add, a reviewer of records, tapes and CD's for many more years. Paul Muldoon has led you into a universe where you have become something that you were not before picking up this book!
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