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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry

New Weather

Paul Muldoon

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To purchase Poems 1968-1998

Title: New Weather
Author: Paul Muldoon
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1973
Length: 38 pages
Availability: in Poems 1968-1998 - US
New Weather - UK
in Poems 1968-1998 - UK
  • Also included in Poems 1968-1998 (see our review)
  • The original Faber & Faber edition (1973) was apparently mistakenly printed entirely in italics

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Our Assessment:

B : decent collection

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Encounter . 12/1973 Douglas Dunn
TLS . 20/4/1973 .

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The complete review's Review:

       Paul Muldoon's first collection (published when he was only 22), is a solid if unspectacular one. The thirty six poems -- most about a page in length -- are not uniform in approach or style, though many of the subjects that reappear throughout much of Muldoon's writing are touched upon. There are biographical titbits, scenes from his life and from Ireland, the preoccupation with America, religion. Some of the playfulness is already apparent, as is some of the allusiveness.
       The first poem begins: "The early electric people had domesticated the wild ass." It is broadly imagined, one of the more elaborate inventions. The next poem, Wind and Tree, is already contrarily simple and direct, beginning:

In the way that the most of the wind
Happens where there are trees,

Most of the world is centered
About ourselves.
       Several of the personal pieces are striking successes. Thinking of the Goldfish is poignant, with lines like:
Beating in its plastic bag
It looked like a change of heart

I had bought for you to hold.
       Similarly, the tight concision of Leaving an Island works very well.
       Hedgehog, unexpectedly turning at the end with its religious twist, is among Muldoon's most memorable early poems.
       The spare Easter Island is also a small marvel, closing:
These islanders

Might winch for miles
To right abstractions

From the living rock.
No resurrection but

The Moving Stone
Compelled their homage.
       Muldoon does display an odd predilection for splitting words across lines in some of these poems ("inter- / Vened", or "wob- / Bled", for example). It seems to be out of metrical necessity (though in the case of "inter- / Vened" it doesn't seem to quite work out), but is not entirely satisfactory.

       The collection is somewhat uneven, but there are certainly enough worthwhile poems here.

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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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