Biography Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon

photo of Paul Muldoon
  • Time Period1951 -
  • PlaceCounty Armagh
  • CountryNorthern Ireland

Poet Biography

Paul Muldoon (born 20 June 1951) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from County Armagh, Northern Ireland as well as an educator and academic at Princeton University.

Muldoon's poetry is known for difficulty, allusion, casual use of obscure or archaic words, understated wit, punning, and deft technique in meter and slant rhyme.

Muldoon has lived in the United States since 1987; he teaches at Princeton University and is an Honorary Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. He held the chair of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University for the five-year term 1999–2004, and he is an Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford University. In addition, he teaches in Vermont at The Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College's graduate program.

Muldoon's work has usually been overshadowed by that of his friend and mentor, Seamus Heaney. Heaney, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, is better known and has enjoyed more popular success, while Muldoon has been referred to as 'the poet's poet', whose work is frequently too involved for a more casual readership. However, Muldoon's reputation as a serious poet was confirmed in 2003 with his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

He has been awarded such honours as fellowships in the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize; the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, and the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry.

In September 2007 he was hired as poetry editor of The New Yorker.

Muldoon has contributed the librettos for four operas by Daron Hagen: Shining Brow (1992), Vera of Las Vegas (1996), Bandanna (1998), and The Antient Concert (2005). His interests have not only included libretto, but the rock lyric as well, penning lines for The Handsome Family as well as the late Warren Zevon whose titular track "My Ride's Here" belongs to a Muldoon collaboration. Muldoon also writes lyrics for (and plays "rudimentary rhythm" guitar in) his own Princeton-based rock band, Rackett.