Thursday 24 June 2010

Poetry and Childhood - Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon talks to Jack Klaff about his poetry, and discusses his upbringing in County Armagh, Northern Ireland

Muldoon describes the way he gives readings of his poems, exploring the way the writer is a medium through which poems come into being. He explains his method of writing poetry: beginning with an image, the pattern and idea of the poem are discovered throughout the course of writing. Muldoon argues that a poem is a revelation of some description, mimetic to a process of discovery, and can be a momentary clarification from the general confusion of life.

Klaff and Muldoon go on to discuss some of his poems, the language that he uses and how his pastoral childhood influenced his writing. Muldoon argues that since many people lack the necessary education to read poetry, many come to a poem with expectations that are most likely to be disappointed. He believes that people should come to a poem and determine what it requires of them, not the other way round. One has to discover, just as the poet had to, the meaning of the poem. Muldoon ends by exploring what makes a poet, discussing his teaching and the concept of posterity.

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