Development & Alumni Relations Office 


20 December 2017

The internationally renowned poet, editor and critic, Paul Muldoon (BA English, 1973), who received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Pennsylvania in May, has rounded off 2017 with the award of Her Majesty the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

The County Armagh-born writer, who is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts and Director of the Princeton Atelier, has produced 12 major collections of poetry as well as children’s books and song lyrics.

He is the second Irish poet to receive the award in its 83-year history, after Michael Longley in 2001.

The poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, 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.”

Born in 1951 the eldest of three children on a farm near The Moy, his father Patrick worked as a farmer, while his mother Brigid (née Regan) was a schoolteacher.

Paul Muldoon came up to Queen’s in 1969 to read English, where he met the future Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, at whose funeral in 2013 in Dublin he delivered a tribute. He became closely involved in the Belfast Group of poets who gained prominence in the 1970s which included Heaney, Michael Longley, Ciarán Carson, Medbh McGuckian and Frank Ormsby.

During his time at University, Paul Muldoon’s first collection New Weather was published by Faber and Faber (1973).

After graduating Paul Muldoon worked as a BBC producer in Belfast, before moving to England to teach at the University of East Anglia and at Caius College and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University 1999-2004.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1981 and has lived in the US since 1987, teaching at Princeton University and more recently editing poetry for the New Yorker magazine, which he gave up earlier this year.

Internationally renowned, he has won many prizes and awards including the T. S. Eliot Prize (1994), American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature (1996), the Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry (2003), the Pulitzer Prize (2003) and the European Prize for Poetry (2006).

Dame Carol added: “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.”

A regularly attendee at Queen’s alumni events in New York, Paul Muldoon appears with a spoken word music group, Rogue Oliphant. Now living in New York City and Sharon Springs, New York, Paul is married to his second wife, the novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, with whom he has two children, Dorothy and Asher.

The Queen will present Paul Muldoon with his medal in 2018.

Inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Queen’s Development and Alumni Relations Office; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Photo credit: Princeton University


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