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One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Poems

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Another wild, expansive collection from the eternally surprising Pulitzer Prize–winning poet

Smuggling diesel; Ben-Hur (the movie, yes, but also Lew Wallace's original book, and Seosamh Mac Grianna's Gaelic translation); a real trip to Havana; an imaginary trip to the Château d'If: Paul Muldoon's newest collection of poems, his twelfth, is exceptionally wide-ranging in its
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published November 4th 2014)
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Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetshere
Well, consider me surprised by how much I enjoyed this. My knowledge of the poet was rather limited; he was interviewed on PBS some time back and Muldoon struck me as a bit glib and self-absorbed. After finishing this volume I can’t report to the contrary but I loved the rich festering language, especially the homage to Heaney. The triptych on the American Civil War was rather intriguing, furrowing unexpected perspectives onto the unresolved convulsion of this democratic experiment.
World Literature Today
"These poems constitute an impressive and entertaining performance that, of itself, offers certain satisfactions: wit, humor, invention, technical sophistication—all good things. For some readers, these will be enough; other readers, however, will find too much fancy footwork and showmanship. They will fatigue at the proliferating non sequiturs, the endless inkblots posing as far-ranging associative thought, the picaresque poems like handfuls of pearls left unstrung by an organicism of subject o ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I've never been able to figure out why I like Paul Muldoon. He doesn't tend to write about subjects that particularly interest me, and his language isn't always super-accessible. But his poetry continues to engage, no matter what he's writing about, and his latest collection is one of the stronger ones he's written in recent years. "Cuthbert and the Otters" is by far my favorite poem in the collection, as it mourns the death of Seamus Heaney, and the rest are ambitious and diverse in their conte ...more
Chris Drew
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you are familiar with Paul Muldoon's poetry then you know what to expect. Each poem is packed with wordplay. Always thoughtful, and often humorous, in many poems very political, and constantly aware of the tradition and history of language and poetry. Some poems are more densely packed then others, and can be somewhat challenging but are pleasantly capable of yielding to the reader, and encourage an engagement with the words and phrases that is really unmatched. It might be helpful to have go ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gains upon read, close attention (as all great poetry does)...and what strikes me most about Muldoon's poetry is, at first, the play, the technique, the games but what I am left with is when that drops away for a quick second and the register changes into 'I cannot thole the thought of Seamus Heaney dead." (like Wright's great ending line: "I have wasted my life on nothing.") Or throughout the poems, Anonymous: From "Marban and Guaire" or his beautiful sonnet, "A Dent" and a few others that seem ...more
C. Varn
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Muldoon's poetry is idiosyncratic and particularly from contemporary Irish poetry dominated by the Seamus Heaney's naturalism. Muldoon's 20th collection begins with an invocation of Heaney but quickly moves to his more eclectic tastes and focuses and Muldoon packs the collection with wry and ironic wordplay. Muldoon's frames of reference can be dizzying, however, and sometimes the need to keep google nearby (as one may get his classical references but not his contemporary or vice versa) can ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Of the two on an Elizabethan stage
meant to support the heavens, one's been itemized
as missing since the flit from Shoreditch
left it high and dry
and safe from our cutthroat Doge.
Once it propped up the drunken sailor on a mast

ready with every nod to tumble down,
once obscured a lady in a doublet
yet to be revealed as the long-lost twin
of Starveling or Snug or Sly.
Many an imp from the Forest of Arden
who scaled it with a catapult

or pail of birdlime made from holly bark
to trap a mistle thrush
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This was the first book of poetry I've read all the way through. I suspect some of my 3 star rating is due to being a novice of poetry and some due to me not liking the style of Mr. Muldoon's poems. I liked the shorter poems a little more and found some of the themes a little distracted. All in all I am glad I took the time to read this book of poetry since it has broadened by reading circle and peeked my interest in reading more.
Elizabeth StClair
Some have liked this book and poet. It wasn't my cup of tea. I realized early on the poems make references, mostly to things I know absolutely nothing about. Perhaps I would have a better appreciation of the work if I knew what it was talking about! There were a few poems here and there that I enjoyed, but for the most part I was waiting for myself to enjoy the book. I've since finished it, and I'm still waiting.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very exhaustive collection of Muldoon's obsessions with history, religious struggles, America & all manner of artists.He writes in a style that captures the essential poetry of words & their resounding meanings when allowed to roam in a freedom & a spirit of wonder & mystery. Pretentious, what?! ...more
Robert Welbourn
An interesting collection of poems. Muldoon flits between the simple and elegant and the meandering and seemingly nonsensical. Definitely worth a read, though don't expect it to be easy.
Galen Green
Totally acknowledging it’s possible I’m too dumb to appreciate his poems, but very few rang true to me.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it's no Captain Blood
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
May 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
My brain is too set into its ways to accept this jumble of letters as art.

Either that or I'm just not feeling well this month.
Mary Kennedy
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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

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