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the Complete Review
the complete review - poetry


Paul Muldoon

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To purchase Poems 1968-1998

Title: Quoof
Author: Paul Muldoon
Genre: Poetry
Written: 1983
Length: 43 pages
Availability: in Poems 1968-1998 - US
in Poems 1968-1998 - UK
  • Also included in Poems 1968-1998 (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B+ : solid, varied collection

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Christian Sci. Monitor . 13/1/1984 Gregory Schirmer
Encounter . 3/1984 John Mole
The Guardian . 17/11/1983 M.Dodsworth
New Statesman . 11/11/1983 Derek Mohon
The Observer . 16/10/1983 Peter Porter
TLS . 28/10/1983 Neil Corcoran
VLS . 3/1984 G.Stokes

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The complete review's Review:

       Quoof includes the usual variety of Muldoon-offerings: personal poems, playful, allusive efforts, and a long piece to round off the collection -- in this case, the elaborate sequence The More a Man Has the More a Man Wants.
       The title is explained in the marvelous opening line from the title-poem:

How often have I carried our family word
for the hot water bottle
to a strange bed
       There are foreign efforts -- "from the Irish of Michael Davitt", "after the German of Erich Arendt". The Davitt -- The Mirror -- is offered "In memory of my father".
       A number of the poems are about family -- Muldoon's father in particular. He writes (prematurely) that Cherish the Ladies is "my last poem about my father".
       Women, lovers, also appear in a number of the poems, Muldoon's light -- delicate and almost wry -- touch here very effective.
       The long last poem is a decidedly odd effort. The stanzas are each 14 lines in length, but don't otherwise adhere to sonnet form "Gallogly squats in his own pelt" and is on the run. It is a wild, acrobatic chase of clever wordplay. There's a narrative here (with a fair amount of drama and violence), which is actually fairly clear, but that is just one of a number of layers. It is a challenge and puzzle, much of it not easily worked out. But it is also a sustained flourish of writing.
       An interesting collection, with many good bits.

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Quoof: 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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