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The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures by Paul…

The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures

by Paul Muldoon

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These brilliant, extravagant, and entertaining essays are based on Muldoon's Oxford Lectures on poetry. Subjecting the idea of the "end of the poem" to multiple interpretations, he uses these interpretations as springboards to detailed readings of just under twenty poems. His method uses associations, allusions, similarities, puns, influences, and wordplay to extract every possible shred of meaning from a poem. This is always entertaining, and if he sometimes oversteps normal reasonable bounds, he often creates an complicated web of reference to other poems, biography, and critical writings so compelling that I was swept along, if only by the sheer brilliance and buoyant intellectual fun of it all. All in all, one of the most entertaining and stimulating books of poetry criticism that I've read. ( )
  sjnorquist | Apr 24, 2014 |
This book is a collection of 15 lectures delivered over the course of five years at Oxford during Muldoon's tenure there as a professor of poetry. Each lecture is a close reading of a particular poem from the likes of Yeats, Pessoa, Marianne Moore, etc. As could be expected, some chapters are stronger than others (and some are quite brilliant, in fact), but overall it is a solid performance.
  nuwanda | Sep 10, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374148104, Hardcover)

In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon, "the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War" (The Times Literary Supplement), presents engaging, rigorous, and insightful explorations of a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's "All Souls' Night" to Stevie Smith's "I Remember" to Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography." Here Muldoon reminds us that the word "poem" comes, via French, from the Latin and Greek: "a thing made or created." He asks: Can a poem ever be a freestanding, discrete structure, or must it always interface with the whole of its author's bibliography--and biography? Muldoon explores the boundlessness, the illimitability, created by influence, what Robert Frost meant when he insisted that "the way to read a poem in prose or verse is in the light of all the other poems ever written." And he writes of the boundaries or borders between writer and reader and the extent to which one determines the role of the other.

At the end, Muldoon returns to the most fruitful, and fraught, aspect of the phrase "the end of the poem": the interpretation that centers on the "aim" or "function" of a poem, and the question of whether or not the end of the poem is the beginning of criticism. Irreverent, deeply learned, often funny, and always stimulating, The End of the Poem is a vigorous and accessible approach to looking at poetry anew.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:43 -0400)

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This publication contains 15 lectures delivered by Paul Muldoon during his tenure as Oxford Professor of Poetry, from 1999 to 2004. They form a set of variations around the theme of 'the end of the poem'. Each lecture explores a different sense of an ending and focuses upon an individual poem.… (more)

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