Paul Muldoon wins Queen Elizabeth’s Gold Medal for Poetry

Armagh-born poet Paul Muldoon to receive medal from queen next year

Paul Muldoon, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Photograph: Tony Pleavin

Paul Muldoon, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Photograph: Tony Pleavin

 

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2017 to Irish poet Paul Muldoon. He becomes only the second Irish poet to be so honoured in the award’s 83-year history, after Michael Longley in 2001.

The Poetry Medal Committee recommended Muldoon as this year’s recipient of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, on the basis of the body of his work. Summing up the committee’s choice, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s poet laureate, said: “Paul Muldoon is widely acclaimed as the most original and influential poet of the past 50 years and is rightly celebrated alongside Seamus Heaney. His poetry displays a restless playful brilliance, forever searching for new ways to channel his ideas and new language to dress them in. 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 was born in Co Armagh in 1951 and studied at Queen’s University, Belfast, before publishing his first collection of poetry in 1973, and working as a BBC producer in Belfast. In 1981 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has produced twelve major collections of poetry as well as books for children, song lyrics, opera libretti and works of criticism. He has lived chiefly in the United States for the last 30 years, teaching at Princeton University (since 1987) and editing the New Yorker’s poetry section (2007-17). His work has received many awards including the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Muldoon was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1999-2004.

Muldoon will be presented with the medal by Queen Elizabeth in 2018. The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then poet laureate, John Masefield. The medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis either of a body of work over several years, or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award. The poet muast be from the UK or a Commonwealth country.

Previous recipients of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry

1934 Laurence Whistler

1936 W H Auden

1940 Michael Thwaites

1952 Andrew Young

1953 Arthur Waley

1954 Ralph Hodgson

1955 Ruth Pitter

1956 Edmund Blunden

1957 Siegfried Sassoon

1959 Frances Cornford

1960 John Betjeman

1962 Christopher Fry

1963 William Plomer

1964 R S Thomas

1965 Philip Larkin

1967 Charles Causley

1968 Robert Graves

1969 Stevie Smith

1970 Roy Fuller

1971 Sir Stephen Spender

1973 John Heath-Stubbs

1981 D J Enright

1986 Norman MacCaig

1988 Derek Walcott

1989 Allen Curnow

1990 Sorley Maclean

1991 Judith Wright

1992 Kathleen Raine

1996 Peter Redgrove

1998 Les Murray

2000 Edwin Morgan

2001 Michael Longley

2002 Peter Porter

2003 U A Fanthorpe

2004 Hugo Williams

2006 Fleur Adcock

2007 James Fenton

2009 Don Paterson

2010 Gillian Clarke

2011 Jo Shapcott

2012 John Agard

2013 Douglas Dunn

2014 Imtiaz Dharker

2015 Liz Lochhead

2016 Gillian Allnutt

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