Paul Muldoon: Quoof (2440 words)

First published in 1983, Quoof has been described by Tim Kendall as “Muldoon's inescapable book” and this darkly humorous, disturbing, at times shocking collection, shows the poet responding to an increasingly bleak political situation in Northern Ireland by formally and thematically distorting the traditions of English lyric verse – in particular, that most courtly of forms, the sonnet. If, in North (1975), Seamus Heaney had set out to make the well-made poem “eat stuff that it [had] never eaten before”, Muldoon seems to be simultaneously starving and force-feeding it, his line-lengths wasting at times to a single disconnected syllable while his deployment of extended structures sets up an apparently …

Phillips, Ivan. "Quoof". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 April 2005
[, accessed 20 February 2019.]

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