Paul Muldoon: The Annals of Chile

(3154 words)

In the last poem of Paul Muldoon’s “January journal” of 1992 (published as The Prince of the Quotidian two years later), a cigarette-smoking, horse-headed familiar challenges the poet from the flower-beds into which he has just parachuted:

he slaps my cheek; “Above all else, you must atone
for everything you’ve said and done
against your mother: meet excess of love
with excess of love; begin on the feast of Saint Brigid.”

Muldoon’s mother had always featured as an antagonistic presence within the poet’s work (see “The Mixed Marriage” in Mules, for instance, or “Profumo” in Meeting the British), but here h…

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Phillips, Ivan. "The Annals of Chile". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2004
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]