One Thousand Things Worth Knowing by Paul Muldoon; Kim Kardashian’s Marriage by Sam Riviere; Human Work by Sean Borodale - review by David Wheatley

David Wheatley

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One Thousand Things Worth Knowing


Faber & Faber 117pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Kim Kardashian’s Marriage


Faber & Faber 96pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

Human Work


Jonathan Cape 68pp £10 order from our bookshop

Paul Muldoon is the supreme mannerist of modern poetry: were he a painter, all his Madonnas would have long necks. His Heath Robinson rhyme schemes and formal experiments are among the most unmistakable signatures in contemporary poetry. A roll call of his prizes would be superfluous, yet acclaim for Muldoon has not been universal. There are those who think that in swapping Belfast for Princeton, and the short lyrics of Why Brownlee Left and Quoof for the baggy epics of Madoc and The Annals of Chile, his work lost something innocent and authentic. As One Thousand Things Worth Knowing virtuosically reminds us, this is a gross misrepresentation. 

Perhaps virtuosically is the wrong word here, since at issue is the question of technique versus heart. Those in search of the latter need look no further than ‘Pelt’, which begins:

Now rain rattled
the roof of my car
like holy water
on a coffin lid,
holy water and mud
landing with a thud.

It’s an eerily

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