Belfast Telegraph

Poet Paul Muldoon adds Queen's Gold Medal to poetry awards

By Michael McHugh and Rebecca Black

Northern Ireland poet Paul Muldoon has won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2017.

Muldoon has produced 12 major collections, as well as children's books and song lyrics.

Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy paid tribute to the Co Armagh man as a contemporary of Seamus Heaney.

"Paul Muldoon is widely acclaimed as the most original and influential poet of the past 50 years and is rightly celebrated alongside Seamus Heaney," she said.

"His poetry displays a restless, playful brilliance, forever searching for new ways to channel his ideas and new language to dress them in."

Muldoon was born in Portadown in 1951.

He published his first collection of poetry in 1973.

In 1981 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He has lived chiefly in the United States for the last 30 years, teaching at Princeton University and more recently editing poetry for The New Yorker magazine, before giving that up earlier this year.

Duffy added: "He is ambitious, erudite, witty and musical.

"He can experiment with form and stand tradition on its head, craft a tender elegy or intimate love poem with equal skill.

"His work is of major significance internationally - poetry of clarity, invention, purpose and importance which has raised the bar of what's possible in poetry to new heights."

Muldoon is the youngest of a famous group of poets from Northern Ireland, including Heaney and Michael Longley, centred around Queen's University in Belfast, who gained prominence in the 1970s.

Mr Longley also won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, in 2001.

Muldoon, who delivered a tribute to Heaney at the Nobel Prize winner's 2013 funeral in Dublin, is set to be presented with his medal by the Queen next year.

He previously paid tribute to the place he grew up, a farm on the Armagh side of The Moy area, which he described as a "beautiful part of the world".

He said in 2001: "It's still the place that's 'burned into the retina', and although I haven't been back there since I left for university 30 years ago, it's the place I consider to be my home."

Muldoon worked for the BBC in Belfast during the late 1970s and early 1980s, before moving to England to teach at the University of East Anglia and at Caius College and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

He emigrated to the United States in 1987.

He now lives in New York City with his wife, the novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, and their two children.

Muldoon has won a number of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2003.

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