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Horse Latitudes: Poems


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About the Author

Paul Muldoon is the author of nine books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Moy Sand and Gravel (FSG, 2002). He teaches at Princeton University and, between1999 and 2004, was professor of poetry at Oxford University.


Muldoon is undisputedly a master poet. Many of his poems distinctly take up the poetic tradition yet skew it with half-rhymes and unlikely subjects for classical forms, and also engage deeply with the troubled politics of his native Northern Ireland yet intertwine them with Muldoon's own personal history, mythology and esoteric symbolism. If these poems are reluctant to offer themselves to easy interpretation, they nonetheless seduce the reader into repeated readings in which they only grow more interesting, a sure sign of their capacity to last. In his 11th collection, the Pulitzer Prize-winner and former professor of poetry at Oxford (his Oxford lectures are being released concurrently) is as good as ever. Amid the usual parade of poetic forms (a riddle, haiku and pantoum, among others), he treats post-9/11 America ("those were my Twin Towers, right?"); aging, fatherhood and mortality ("a country toward which I've been rowing/ for fifty years"); the notion of "the old country" in a tour-de-force crown of sonnets ("Every escape was a narrow escape/ where every stroke was a broad stroke/ of an ax on a pig nape./ Every pig was a pig in a poke"); and the deaths of his sister and rocker Warren Zevon. With signature wit, Muldoon is preoccupied with the passage of time, the ways things change and stay the same, the distance between one culture and another, as well as the narrowing gap between high and popular culture. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Horses are the conveyance Pulitzer Prize winner Muldoon (Moy Sand and Gravel) uses to transport his readers through this new collection. The title refers to an area 30 degrees north and south of the equator in which sailing ships find themselves becalmed and where sailors might throw horses overboard to lighten the load. Yet, there is no stagnation in these poems. Playful language, political subtleties, and proclamations of grief gallop through Muldoon's melee of mythological and contemporary battles-disputes where turtles cover corpses, Bob Dylan returns to Princeton, and violins made from horse heads sing plaintively of destruction. Though his digressions can be difficult, the musicality of his line, as well as his joyous word plays and ironies, is worth the effort. Beginning with a sequence of sonnets whose titles start with the letter B, to a series of instant messages formatted as haiku, to an ending that tributes rocker Warren Zevon, readers are in for a lively ride: "in the afternoon, televangelists,/ push up and bench press with Buddhist and Parsi,/ ten thousand days after which you realized/ the flesh is indeed no more than a bruise." Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.-Karla Huston, Appleton Art Ctr., Appleton, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"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. . .authentically touched or delighted." --Richard Eder, The New York Times Book Review"Without question one of the most inventive poets writing in English today." --Andrew Frisardi, The Boston Sunday Globe"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"[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

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