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The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  74 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon dazzlingly explores a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's "All Souls' Night" to Stevie Smith's "I Remember" to Fernando Pessoa's "Autopsychography." 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 free-standing structure, or must it always int ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2000)
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M. D.  Hudson
Oct 18, 2008 M. D. Hudson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I stopped reading this one on page 263, but I demand full credit for the whole book because it was such a God-awful slog. Muldoon is an Irish poet crusted with prizes and now the poetry editor for the New Yorker, selecting poems in an inexplicably bizarre fashion (and not selecting mine, damn him). This particular book is prose, consisting of his Oxford Lectures, obviously. Here’s how it works: each lecture consists of Muldoon selecting one particular poem by a famous poet “12 O’clock News” by E ...more
Diann Blakely
Though, so far as I know Muldoon has no intention of ending his residence at Princeton or his day job at the NEW YORKER anytime soon, he a few years back reversed directions to become the prestigious Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. The resultant collection of lectures, THE END OF THE POEM, plays on the book's title, inevitably creating from it every conceivable pun. The end of poetry is to commune — not just communicate — with a reader. That reader has the responsibility of listening, ...more
David Todd
Nov 02, 2012 David Todd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I picked this book up at the Chicago Publishers Row Lit Fest in June, anxious to see what Paul Muldoon (who I'd never heard of) had to say about poetry. I saw that he included a chapter on Robert Frost, my favorite poet. Alas, I was very disappointed in the book. It consists of chapters drawn from lectures Muldoon gave at Oxford University over a five year period, slightly expanded, I think, and otherwise modified to better suit the print medium.

I've been involved with poetry critique since abou
Josiah Bancroft
Dec 02, 2009 Josiah Bancroft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something of a primer in associative minutia, The End of the Poem offers Muldoon an opportunity to impress readers with his voluminous knowledge of modern poetry and the biographies of poets. The experience of reading The End is fraught with distractions: Muldoon's language is distracting, his point is distracted, our attention is distracted by the varied salacious flotsam crowding the stream. It is an exhausting (and at times exhaustive) read.

Foremost, I appreciate that Muldoon directs the read
Update: Muldoon really does take "the end of the poem" somewhere. . . or maybe I'm just falling under his spell. At any rate, I'm starting to take this more seriously, particularly after his completely beautiful explication of a Dickinson poem.

Muldoon's bravura readings fit perfectly into my current obsession with how people read. In fact, he follows perfectly after my recent expedition into kabbalah--he's practically a kabbalist of literature, attributing significance, reference, and double me
Jee Koh
Aug 30, 2008 Jee Koh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These essays are based on the lectures Muldoon gave as Oxford Professor of Poetry. In each essay, he analyzed a single poem, mainly in terms of its diction and imagery, in order to show the poem's associations with other poems and writing by and about the same author, and with the poem's poetic forebears.

I find many of the associations made, in this approach which Muldoon named stunt-reading, persuasive and insightful, though other links seem more tenuous. These less convincing links are usuall
Garrard Conley
Dec 01, 2015 Garrard Conley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While Muldoon has the misfortune of sharing a book title with Agamben (same year, too), this in-depth analysis of some of my favorite poems is essential. There are times when Muldoon's preoccupation with wordplay and puns can be frustrating, and times when he speaks a little too flippantly of gender , but overall this is an excellent study.
Jan 09, 2009 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muldoon picks a lot of unknown or lesser known poems from well-known poets to examine in the lectures, but has a strange methodology. His general thesis is that each poem is an answer or completion of an earlier (sometimes greater) poem. Muldoon then spends a lot of time tracing the possible influences on a specific poem. Very neat if you want to speculate how a poem, gets created, but I can't help but feel cheated by many of the essays. These are great poems from Robert Lowell, Emily Dickinson, ...more
Aug 27, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I wasn't particularly keen on many (if not most) of the 15 poems Muldoon discusses in his book of Oxford lectures, I was consistently wowed by his readings of the poems, and sometimes was convinced that a poem I didn't especially like was worth further consideration. He pulls out so many tricks, it's astonishing, clambering between poems and biography and theory and linguistics even when his handholds are shaky. These lectures are worth reading for a few reasons: they demonstrate how on ...more
Sarah W
Jan 02, 2011 Sarah W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ambitious free-form over readings of a selection of poems. Muldoon dives into the lives and works of poets in a way that can be simultaneously frustrating and motivating. I think this book suffered a bit from being adapted from a series of lectures; sometimes Muldoon's sources are less than clear and sometimes his analysis seems slave to a lecture hall time limit. But overall I found it to be thought provoking and enjoyable. Anyone who wouldn't want to sit through an hour lecture on poetry shoul ...more
Mar 12, 2008 Sara rated it it was amazing
I love this book so far! I love reading lectures. (Forster's Aspects of the Novel is another good collection of lectures.) I am enjoying the close reading and myriad connections Muldoon makes between each poem and several other sources both from within and beyond the same poet's work. I'm finding myself pulling out the dictionary and ancillary books of poetry to "check up" on his suggestions and theories and assertions. It makes me feel like a -- gasp-- academic.
Jun 15, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much wierder that you would think. In some ways the connections Muldoon pulls out of the poems are a map of how a poet's writing mind works: at right angles, by sound association, jumping from concrete to abstract to concrete again, and lurching from one dimension to another.

I don't know if has anything provable to say about the poems he looks at, but as roller coaster ride of association, allusions and reference, it's convincing.
Keisya Prasetyawan
Well, obviously i don't find this book very enjoyable because i am just a 14 year old. But, this book actually inspired me to write some poem and give ideas how you should write your essays using different techniques! suggesting to all those people whose taking gcse/other exams read this for some inspiration! just read through, no need to read the whole thing.
Jan 22, 2015 Gem rated it liked it
If the 'end of the poem' and its significance to reading poems were explained more clearly in the beginning lectures, it would feel more rewarding a read. Fantastic read for poetic obsessives but the general reader might find it a bit of a sado-masochistic slog.
(was 4/5 till last couple of lectures)
Roy Oltmann
Dec 16, 2013 Roy Oltmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about the art of poetry. I haven't read any criticism for quite awhile and I found this book a useful introduction to some poets I haven't read. The chapter on Fernando Pessoa was worth the price of the book alone. (See next book I'm reading) Highly recommended
Jun 27, 2012 Richard is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
So far I am loving this even though I am only half through the chapter on Ted Hughes' The Literary Life. This will be one I jump around in.
Oct 04, 2008 Wally rated it it was amazing
Amazing analysis of various poems by various poets. Muldoon explores, unfolds, and explicates with grace and clarity.
Feb 10, 2008 Layla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muldoon refers to the long version of Marianne Moore's "Poetry" as "the dance mix." Rad.
Grace Curtis
Jan 01, 2013 Grace Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Significant in my poetry education. Engrossing.
Sep 02, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
kick-ass poetry essays
Jul 31, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Born in Northern Ireland, Muldoon currently resides in the US and teaches at Princeton University. He held the chair of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1999 through 2004. In September 2007, Muldoon became the poetry editor of The New Yorker.

1992: Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for Madoc: A Mystery
1994: T. S. Eliot Prize for The Annals of Chile
1997: Irish Times Irish Literature
More about Paul Muldoon...

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