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Monday 14 April 2002

 
Putting MOY on the literary map
The branch Library in the Moy, County Tyrone was the location for a unique
'handing-over' ceremony recently when the artist, Fleur Fitzgerald, presented a bronze head of the poet Paul Muldoon to the Chairman of the Southern Education & Library Board's Library Committee, Mr Plunkett Campbell.
Paul Muldoon is widely considered to be the greatest poet of his generation. He was born near the Moy in 1951 and attended St Patrick's Grammar School in Armagh.
 

SELB Library Service has been keen to develop a link between the poet and the library in Moy for some time and he himself has been more than receptive to the idea. He has generously donated some of his own material to the library and on a recent return visit to Armagh paid a surprise visit to the library and talked to the staff there. Last year he suggested that Moy Library might be an appropriate place to display a bronze head of himself, which was being produced by the English artist, Fleur Fitzgerald - and now it has actually happened!

The Chairman of the Library Committee, Plunkett Campbell, in accepting the bronze said that he was delighted to be in a position to further cement the relationship between the library in Moy and one of the area's most famous sons.

He commented "It is obvious from reading Paul Muldoon's poetry that although he has been away from the area for some time, it still represents an important ground base on which he has developed his art. It is interesting to note' he went on, 'that his latest book of poetry which is due out in the Autumn, is titled 'Moy Brick and Sand', which is further evidence of his continuing love for this part of the country."

When Paul came to Queen's University Belfast in 1969, Seamus Heaney, whom he had met before and who had helped publish some of his poems, was his tutor. He joined him, Michael Longley, and a number of other writers in weekly meetings where new poems were discussed. Among his fellow-students were Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson and Frank Ormsby. In 1973, while still at Queens, Faber & Faber published his first volume of poetry "New Weather".

He has published a number of critically acclaimed volumes of poetry over the years since then, as well as a series of literary articles and volumes of criticism. He is currently Howard G.B. Clark Professor of the Humanities and Creative Writing at Princeton University where, since 1990, he has also been the Director of the Creative Writing Program there. He lives in the United States with his wife, the novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, and their two children but comes back to Ireland as often as circumstances allow.

Paul Muldoon has been awarded the Sir Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award in 1991, the T. S. Eliot Award for The Annals of Chile in 1994, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature in 1996, and, most recently, the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for his New Selected Poems.

He is president of the Poetry Society and in May 1999, he was elected unopposed as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. .

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