‘Paul Muldoon’s Lamentations is a substantial collection of translations and work written for performance.’ — John McAuliffe, The Irish Times
The Churchyard at Creggan
The Lament for Art O’Leary
A translation of a classic 18th-century Irish poem introduces a dramatic reimagining of the heartrending rage of ‘The Lament for Art O’Leary’; a sequence of lyrics from musicals about Ben Gunn and ‘Typhoid Mary’ Mallon (an asymptomatic carrier who, after decades in isolation, re-emerged to infect others), and an extended howl that begins with pillow talk and includes the Táin Bó that becomes Bo Diddley and the bó of beau monde.
For all the anguish and the haunting music of these narratives there is in our most protean poet a fair share of frolic and linguistic sport.
‘Muldoon is a sprightly, ludic, fiery writer: these virtues are in evidence here just as they are elsewhere in his canon. He has sometimes been accused of cleverness (where else except in the mad world of letters would too much cleverness be considered a vice rather than a virtue?) and sometimes of being too difficult. (And poetry is supposed to be easy? Who said?) But he is also, as this latest collection demonstrates, a committed and accomplished communicator: there are things he wants to get into your head and having got them into your head he wants them to stay there, rattling about, driving you a bit mad, but giving you a lot to think about in the process. If that’s your thing then read Lamentations, but don’t say you haven’t been warned. Once you load this material into your brain you won’t get it out so easily.’ — Carlo Gébler, Dublin Review of Books