Frolic and Detour
The stirring, mindful and deeply humane new collection of poems from Paul Muldoon
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Although Frolic and Detour is Paul Muldoon’s thirteenth book, it has all the passion and provocation we more often associate with a first collection.
Ranging as it does from poems that take as their subject matter the Native American leaders Joseph Brant and Mangas Coloradas, through the Great War, the Irish Rising, hunting with eagles, the house wren, all the way to the day-to-day assault of twenty-first-century America, Frolic and Detour reminds us that the sidelong glance is the sweetest, the tangential approach the most telling. It also confirms Dwight Garner’s assessment of Selected Poems 1968–2014 in the New York Times: ‘a compact, powerful book, filled with catharses you didn’t know you needed’.
Frolic and Detour is a perfect title: there’s plenty of both in this new collection from Ireland’s most ingenious poet . . . A treat.
Almost every page shows a dazzle and glamour that few other contemporary poets might reach . . . This is poetry at its most wide-ranging and curious about the world but cleverly fettered in formal strictures and structures. If you buy one book of poetry this year, make it this one.’
A feat of prestidigitation . . . the title poem is a dazzling display.
The erudition of the collection is profound . . . Muldoon has been quoted as saying that if the poem has 'no obvious destination' we're in for a ride. And Frolic and Detour is some ride. Muldoon is a 'tell all the truth but tell it slant' kind of poet - as Emily Dickinson would have it. With many imitators, he remains sui generis. If Seamus Heaney's poems catch the heart off-guard and blow it open, Muldoon does something similar, but for the brain, and intellect.
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