January 16, 2018

Queen Elizabeth’s Gold Medal for Poetry Awarded to Princeton Professor Paul Muldoon

paul muldoon

Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities, Director of the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Princeton Atelier, and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University. Photo by Denise Applewhite

Princeton University Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon has been awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2017.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth bestows the honor of a Gold Medal for Poetry for excellence in poetry, either on the basis of a body of work over several years or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award. The Gold Medal for Poetry was first instituted by King George V at the suggestion of John Masefield, Britain’s then Poet Laureate. Including Muldoon, 46 poets have received the award since its founding, beginning with Laurence Whistler in 1934.

Muldoon is the second Irish poet to receive the honor, following Michael Longley’s award in 2001. The 2016 Award was given to British poet Gillian Allnutt.

The Poetry Medal Committee recommended Muldoon for the award on the basis of the body of his work. Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s Poet Laureate and award committee member, lauded Muldoon for his ability to “experiment with form and stand tradition on its head, craft a tender elegy or intimate love poem with equal skill.”

Muldoon will receive the medal from Queen Elizabeth in an upcoming ceremony.

“I’m delighted to be receiving this award at this particular juncture,” notes Muldoon. “It’s a time when UK/Irish relations are particularly strong and I view it as a politically, as well as poetically, charged moment.”

Paul Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities, Director of the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Princeton Atelier, and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University. He was also Founding Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts and has served as Poetry Editor of The New Yorker since 2007.

Muldoon’s main collections of poetry are New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Meeting The British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968-1998 (2001), Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), Horse Latitudes (2006), Maggot (2010), One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (2015), and Selected Poems 1968-2014 (2016). His other written works include children’s literature, works of criticism, and song lyrics.

Since 1981 Muldoon has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which honored him in 1996 with an award in literature. In addition to the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Moy Sand and Gravel, his awards include the T. S. Eliot Prize, an Irish Times Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, an American Ireland Fund Literary Award, a Shakespeare Prize, the Aspen Prize for Poetry, and the European Prize for Poetry. The Times Literary Supplement has described Muldoon as “the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War.”

This spring at Princeton, Muldoon will teach an Advanced Poetry course in the Program in Creative Writing, along with the popular creative writing and music course, “How to Write a Song.” In that class, which he co-teaches with Grammy Award-winning Professor of Music Steven Mackey, Muldoon introduces students to the art of writing words for music inspired by such emotionally charged themes as contempt, gratitude, revenge, desire, disgust, defiance, and more.

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