The Pulitzer Prize–winning poet delivers a sharp wake-up call with his fourteenth collection.
A “howdie-skelp” is the slap in the face a midwife gives a newborn. It’s a wake-up call. A call to action.
The poems in Howdie-Skelp, Paul Muldoon’s new collection, include a nightmarish remake of The Waste Land, an elegy for his fellow Northern Irish poet Ciaran Carson, a heroic crown of sonnets that responds to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a translation from the ninth-century Irish, and a Yeatsian sequence of ekphrastic poems that call into question the very idea of an “affront” to good taste. Muldoon is a poet who continues not only to capture but to command our attention.