Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon

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Paul Muldoon's ninth collection of poems, his first since Hay (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, un 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.

About Paul Muldoon

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Anita Diamant, the author of six books about contemporary Jewish life and two novels, is a prizewinning journalist whose work has appeared regularly in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting. The Red Tent, her first novel, was named Book Sense Book of the Year. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband
Published January 1, 2002 by Faber and Faber. 80 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon 90pp, Faber, £14.99 There are perhaps things we'll never know - did Livia poison her husband, the Emperor Augustus?

Nov 02 2002 | Read Full Review of Moy Sand and Gravel: Poems

Publishers Weekly

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"The Stoic" meditates on a miscarriage—"our child already lost from view/ before it had quite come into range," while the long closing poem places Muldoon's young son Asher in a context that combines Irish and Jewish history with Victorian wilderness stories, lines cribbed from Yeats, and Muldoon...

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London Review of Books

His startling rhymes include rhymes against content (‘reverie’ with ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’), rhymes across languages (‘mar bheadh’ with ‘orchestra’) and rhymes of proper names (‘bone’ with ‘Assiniboine’).

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