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Tending to be “Oblique”: Paul Muldoon's Early Poetry
Any Irish writer can hardly liberate his mind sufficiently from the questions ofpublic duty to form and influence the opinion in Irish politics. And for the samereason almost all the contemporary Northern Ireland poets are under the pressure tolead his readers through the psychic hinterland to emerge from the Northern Irelandcrisis. But the demands made on Paul Muldoon result to his persistent belief thatpoetic language is an abstraction of everyday discourse. Muldoon claims and testifiesthat poet’s word can be used to the particular function of expressing the poet’sintention: the poet’s task is to control the meaning of the words in relation to theother words in the poetic text. Thus his poetry is to some extent full of fantasticand disconnected languages which, he seems to argue, comprise the actualexperiences in the contemporary Northern Ireland. In this perspective his poeticlanguages tend to be the fragments of the continuous narrative and have differenttones and styles. And his early poems seem to the readers to shift between differentlevels of meaning which keeps the poet’s attitude toward the material and thecontext of the work. In this process his poetry is to create his own poetic world asa paradise free from the violent and corrupted real world as well as to draw linksbetween poetry and politics. That means that his early works repeatedly figure outthe relation between social and poetic significances of poetry and at the same timeinvestigate the nature of poet’s word as a way to form his own world. Thisseesawing attitude to the responsibilities toward the contemporary Northern Irelandmakes his poetry tend to be oblique by detaching the poet himself from the society.
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