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This eagerly awaited volume in the celebrated Best American Poetry series reflects the latest developments and represents the last word in poetry today. Paul Muldoon, the distinguished poet and international literary eminence, has selected -- from a pool of several thousand published candidates -- the top seventy-five poems of the year. "The all-consuming interests of American poetry are the all-consuming interests of poetry all over," writes Muldoon in his incisive introduction to the volume. The Best American Poetry 2005 features a superb company of artists ranging from established masters of the craft, such as John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, and Charles Wright, to rising stars like Kay Ryan, Tony Hoagland, and Beth Ann Fennelly. With insightful comments from the poets elucidating their work, and series editor David Lehman's perspicacious foreword addressing the state of the art, The Best American Poetry 2005 is indispensable for every poetry enthusiast.
The original and classic The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas is available once again, now with a brilliant new preface by Paul Muldoon. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas contains poems that Thomas personally decided best represented his work. A year before its publication Thomas died from swelling of the brain triggered by excessive drinking. (A piece of New Directions history: it was our founder James Laughlin who identified Thomas' body at the morgue of St. Vincent's Hospital.) Since its initial publication in 1953, this book has become the definitive edition of the poet's work. Thomas wrote "Prologue" addressed to "my readers, the strangers" -- an introduction in verse that was the last poem he would ever write. Also included are classics such as "And Death Shall Have No Dominion," "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," and "Fern Hill" that have influenced generations of artists from Bob Dylan (who changed his last name from Zimmerman in honor of the poet), to John Lennon (The Beatles included Thomas' portrait on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band); this collection even appears in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road when it is retrieved from the rubble of a bookshelf. And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and their clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again, Though lovers be lost love shall not: And death shall have no dominion. (From "And Death Shall Have No Dominion")
Gathered by the renowned Irish poet, playwright, and essayist William Butler Yeats, the sixty-five tales and poems in this delightful collection uniquely capture the rich heritage of the Celtic imagination. Filled with legends of village ghosts, fairies, demons, witches, priests, and saints, these stories evoke both tender pathos and lighthearted mirth and embody what Yeats describes as "the very voice of the people, the very pulse of life." "The impact of these tales doesn't stop with Yeats, or Joyce, or Oscar Wilde," writes Paul Muldoon in his Foreword, "for generations of readers in Ireland and throughout the world have found them flourishing like those persistent fairy thorns."
Taking as a starting point W. B. Yeats's remark that the only fit topics for a serious mood are "sex and the dead," Muldoon finds unexpected ways of thinking and feeling about what it means to come to terms with the early twenty-first century. It's no accident that the centerpiece of Maggot is an outlandish meditation on a failed poem that draws on the vocabulary of entomological forensics. The last series of linked lyrics, meanwhile, takes as its subject the urge to memorialize the scenes of fatal automobile accidents. The extravagant linkage of rot and the erotic is at the heart of not only the title sequence but also many of the round songs that characterize Maggot, and has led Angela Leighton, writing in The Times Literary Supplement, to see these new poems as giving readers "a thrilling, wild, fairground ride, with few let-ups for the squeamish."
Paul Muldoon's ninth collection of poems, his first since 1998, finds him working a rich vein that extends from the rivery, apple-heavy County Armagh of the 1950s, in which he was brought up, to suburban New Jersey, on the banks of a canal dug by Irish navvies, where he now lives. Grounded, glistening, as gritty as they are graceful, these poems seem capable of taking in almost anything, and anybody, be it a Tuareg glimpsed on the Irish border, Bessie Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth I, a hunted hare, William Tell, William Butler Yeats, Sitting Bull, Ted Hughes, an otter, a fox, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Joscelyne, an unearthed pit pony, a loaf of bread, an outhouse, a killdeer, Oscar Wilde, or a flock of redknots. At the heart of the book is an elegy for a miscarried child, and that elegiac tone predominates, particularly in the elegant remaking of Yeats's "A Prayer for My Daughter" with which the book concludes, where a welter of traffic signs and slogans, along with the spirits of admen, hardware storekeepers, flimflammers, fixers, and other forebears, are borne along by a hurricane-swollen canal, and private grief coincides with some of the gravest matter of our age.<P><P> Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 2003.
The first edition of T. S. Eliot's masterpiece reappears with a major introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon. The Waste Land is arguably the most important poem of the twentieth century. First published in the United States by Boni & Liveright in 1922, this landmark reissue of the first edition, now back with its original publisher, includes a new introduction by Paul Muldoon, showcasing the poem's searing power and strange, jarring beauty. With a modernist design that matches the original, this edition allows contemporary readers to experience the poem the way readers would have seen it for the first time. As Muldoon writes, "It's almost impossible to think of a world in which The Waste Land did not exist. So profound has its influence been not only on twentieth-century poetry but on how we've come to view the century as a whole, the poem itself risks being taken for granted." Famously elliptical, wildly allusive, at once transcendent and bleak, The Waste Land defined modernity after the First World War, forever transforming our understanding of ourselves, the broken world we live in, and the literature that was meant to make sense of it. In a voice that is arch, ironic, almost ebullient, and yet world-weary and tragic, T. S. Eliot mixes and remixes, drawing on a cast of ghosts to create a new literature for a new world. In the words of Edmund Wilson, "Eliot...is one of our only authentic poets...[The Waste Land is] one triumph after another."
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