Paul Muldoon 1951–
Muldoon has a highly individual voice which reflects the vulnerability of life in strife-torn Northern Ireland. Roger Conover has claimed that his poems are about "an ancient faith answering to a modern reason." Among Muldoon's eclectic subjects are the violence of the natural world, the tensions of human relationships, personal memories of childhood and adolescence, and Irish folklore and history. Equally diverse are the structures of his poems, which utilize such forms as "ballad style quatrains," modified sonnets, short lyrics, and dramatic monologues. Most critics caution that Muldoon's colloquial diction is deceptively simple; they often comment about the allusiveness of the meaning of his poems, echoing Seamus Heaney's opinion that what Muldoon has to say is "constantly in disguise."
Muldoon's collections include New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), and Quoof (1983). Each new volume substantiates John Kerrigan's statement that a "combination of visual clarity and verbal panache … has become the hall-mark of Paul Muldoon."
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vol. 113.)