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Thursday, January 4, 2007
The poetry of pop music
Over at The Valve, Adam Roberts, a sci-fi author and professor of 19th century lit at the University of London, picks apart an endearing little poem of Paul Muldoon's because ... well, just because. The poem is part of a small series, Roberts tells us. It's a series I didn't know about, even though I'm a Muldoon fan:
This is one of 'Sleeve Notes', a fairly lengthy strung-together series of poems in Muldoon's 1998 collection Hay; brief lyrics that, it seems, flesh out the 'soundtrack of our lives' aspect of music by connecting, often obliquely, events in Muldoon’s own biography to the albums to which he was listening at the time.
OK, how cool is that?? We've all remarked, haven't we, on the role of popular music in our lives and memories. To this day, Blues Traveler's romp called "Run Around" can instantly transport me to the New Haven Green in the summer of 1995. Or maybe it's 1996 -- even Proustian memory isn't perfect.
Muldoon's poem is about the Beatles's "White Album" and it's a little cutesy for my taste, but Roberts has some perceptive things to say about it. I hope he dissects some more Muldoon pop poems. I even like Muldoon's (somewhat conventional) musical taste, judging by Roberts' description.