John D Kelly talks about Paul Muldoon’s visit to Fermanagh Writers:
Last Tuesday at Charlie’s Bar – on 28th August, Fermanagh Writers had the great pleasure of being entertained and educated by one of the world’s most highly acclaimed living poets currently writing in the English language.
Paul Muldoon, most graciously, and without hesitation – or condition, agreed to come speak to us when I asked him a couple of months ago. I think it was the reflection, off my brass neck, that dazzled him into it as the sunlight streamed through the kitchen window of our home in Corsale; or perhaps it was our two fierce dogs looking hungry, or was it the isolation of where we live and maybe the sight of the two shotguns hanging on the gun rack – beside the chainsaw that made it hard for him to say no?
All joking aside, Paul was most generous in his response. He possesses a modesty and an apparent egoless ness rarely found amongst individuals. These qualities – and his openness, warmth, wisdom and ability to teach, share and to reach out to, and inclusively engage with, everyone in our group – even the prose writers! – was truly astounding, and I know that many of us learned a lot from what he said that night.
He took us back to what ‘he’ called the basics of ‘what a poem is’ and what is meant by ‘verse’ and ‘prose’ and he explained how he sets about ‘building’ with words – from the foundations up! These so called ‘basics’ came across strangely as something blindingly new for many of us I think – simply by the way Paul communicated them to the group with such soft seriousness, energy, clarity and encouragement. We talked about inspiration, the fear of the white page, the collective unconscious, conduits, blockages, constipation, discovery, finding a voice – or many voices – knowing when to stop. . . .
At the end of it all, and beyond a two hour session, we were all well nourished I feel but, in our gluttony, some still wanted dessert; to hear him read more of his poems!
Perhaps another time?