Tag Archives: Poetry

Muldoon’s Northern Ireland

Was clearing up some files just now, and came across this old undergraduate essay. Plenty of stutters in it, but it’s either here or the recycle bin…

Despite having lived in Belfast throughout the height of the troubles, Paul Muldoon has always refrained from outlining his position in relation to the complex political situation in Northern Ireland. In 1985, while still living in Belfast, Muldoon remarked:

It doesn’t matter where I stand politically, with a small “p” in terms of Irish politics. My opinion about what should happen in Northern Ireland is no more valuable than yours. (Donaghy and Muldoon 85) Continue reading

Muldoon’s briefcase

“The Briefcase” was first published in 1990 as part of Paul Muldoon’s Madoc: A Mystery. Composed of rhythmic symmetry, “The Briefcase” is a sonnet with inverted rhyme, repeating outward from the central four lines. These four lines, which respectively close on “cloudburst”, “torrent”, “first” and “daren’t”, correlate to f-g f-g in the rhyme scheme. Looking at the poem’s rhyme from the beginning, we can trace it as follows: a-b-c-d e-f-g f-g-e-d c-b-a. Muldoon’s use of poetic symmetry in such a fashion provides us with our initial clue to the meaning of “The Briefcase”. Continue reading