The Adoration of the Maggot: A Muldonic Coronation
Across the years, readers of Paul Muldoon will have been made well aware of his extensive, and occasionally outrageous, flirtations with relations between the arts.2 As is evidenced by his highly conceitful poetry, Muldoon’s imagination is, in the visual sense, precisely that: an image-forming capacity in which consummately fashioned vignettes are thrown into startling juxtapositions. One need only think of the abrupt apotheosis of Muldoon’s ← 261 | 262 → Hedgehog in New Weather (1972), the detonation of germ warfare across a sensitively-realized Native American consciousness in the title poem of Meeting the British (1984) – or the surreal chain of associative links in the same volume which accommodate Nerval both taking his lobster for a walk on a gossamer thread and hanging himself from a length of chain – for the effect to be felt.3 More recently still, Plan-B (2009) – a self-contained volume as much as a sort of half-way house to his collection Maggot (2010) – plays with a series of photographic images against which the poems may or may not explicitly relate, at the same time as their placement on facing pages forces the reader to at least consider the possibility of reading them together.4
Despite the multiplicity of ways in which such poems tease the reader – the aesthetic seeming to derive as much from that which is not connected (what is lost in the interface between word and image) as from what the two have in common – Muldoon shows no sign of having exhausted...
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