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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry

The Annals of Chile

Paul Muldoon

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To purchase The Annals of Chile

Title: The Annals of Chile
Author: Paul Muldoon
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1994
Length: 189 pages
Availability: The Annals of Chile - US
also in: Poems 1968-1998 - US
The Annals of Chile - UK
also in: Poems 1968-1998 - UK
  • Also included in Poems 1968-1998 (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B+ : intriguing, good read

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
New Statesman & Society A+ 30/9/1994 Michèle Roberts
The New Yorker . 17/4/1995 .
The NY Times Book Rev. A 11/12/1994 Richard Tillinghast
TLS . 1/12/1995 Craig Raine
TLS . 7/10/1994 Lawrence Norfolk
World Lit. Today B- Spring/1995 William Pratt

  Review Consensus:

  Very impressed overall, though some find the word play and obscurity a bit much. (This complaint, a common one re. Muldoon's poetry, is less strongly voiced here than regarding many of his other works.)

  From the Reviews:
  • "At first encounter, the poems glitter too hard. You want to put a hand over your eyes; you don't want to stare into the sun. You have to give them a chance. The baffling brilliant surface finally blurs and steadies, crystallises into feeling." - Michèle Roberts, New Statesman & Society

  • "One of this book's chief glories is Incantata, a gritty, rhapsodic elegy to the Irish artist Mary Farl Powers. It is as multilayered and allusive as one would expect -- and sometimes the complexity becomes exasperating -- but witnessing Mr. Muldoon pulling out all the stops is a rare pleasure." - Richard Tillinghast, The New York Times Book Review

  • "To those who enjoy having a leg pulled, Muldoon is your man; to those who expect something more substantial from poetry, Muldoon rhymes with buffoon." - William Pratt, World Literature Today

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The collection, The Annals of Chile, contains ten short poems, one longer one (Incantata) and one very long one (the 150 page Yarrow). The short ones are a small sampling of Muldoon fare -- a translation from Ovid to kick things off, some Vallejo, poems in anticipation of a child's birth, among others.
       Incantata is a longer piece on a lost love, written In memory of Mary Farl Powers. Muldoon is able to show off his linguistic talents to good advantage in this touching recounting of the love between the two. Very Irish, with references familiar and obscure, it is still more straightforward than much of Muldoon's other poetry. An excellent piece.
       The long Yarrow is a poem of Muldoon's past, his coming of age and his coming of age as a poet. Short scenes follow in rapid sequence, from schoolboy memories to literary influences. An intriguing sequence, it offers a fair amount of information about Muldoon and specifically his literary roots.
       Muldoon's playful, often allusive style is not to everyone's taste. In this collection he is successful in allowing the poems to be relative accessible even to those defeated by the allusions. (The references can be mighty obscure, so for example the title, as explained at the close of the poem Brazil.)
       A good, interesting collection, and certainly a useful introduction to his work.

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The Annals of Chile: Paul Muldoon: Other books by Paul Muldoon under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Poetry under review

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About the Author:

       (Northern) Irish poet Paul Muldoon was born in 1951. He has written several collections of poetry and opera libretti. He has become a citizen of the United States and currently teaches at Princeton University and at Oxford.

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