Circularity In Muldoon's Poetry

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Muldoon’s poetry is characterised by circularity which “is both a thematic and aesthetic principle” and he has “deployed the large-scale circular structures, with repeated rhyme words” (Twiddy 18). For example, the weapon of destruction, the quartz, is mentioned at the beginning of the poem (L. 25), and the poet refers to again at the end of the poem (L. 686) to describe the protagonist’s end. Muldoon is well-known for his technical versatility that emphasises the surface effects of his poetry such as: “the inclusion of outrageous rhymes, literal clichés, the avoidance of a determinate tense, his self-referential wordplay, his anecdotal, misdirecting narratives” yet such strategies reflect the technical ingenuity of a poet at his full powers…show more content…
Therefore, as Broom explains, in the poem, “motivation and purpose are elusive, and individuals blur into one another so that responsibility cannot easily be assigned” (195). This adds to the difficulty and the ambiguity of the poem and leaves readers totally bewildered. However, political motivation in the poem can be attributed to Magnas Jones rather than to Gallogly. This is because the former is described as “busily tracing the family tree / of an Ulsterman who had some hand / in the massacre at Wounded Knee” (L. 236-238), which shows that he is seeking revenge or reconciliation as possible motivations. These lines also show that there are similarities as well as differences between the Irish and Native Americans as the Irish became settlers in America, taking over Native American territory. Thus, both the histories of England and of Ireland were not happy ones and Muldoon was deeply affected by this violent reality as he said in a1994 interview with Christopher Cook, BBC radio 3, “I’d want to go to the extent … where one would say that this was absolute genocide, as one might say of what happened in North America” (Kendall 145). However, it is difficult to attribute any motivations to Gallogly, except that of the physical stimulus of hunger. All allusions to political motivations are shown in a “fragmented, free-floating manner” so it becomes difficult to attribute them to Gallogly in a “definitive way” (Broom 197). “The Croppy Boy” (L. 364) is sung by “Beatrice” who wants to shave Gallogly’s head to commemorate the ’98 and the French revolution (L. 356-358). The desire for a united Ireland can be the motivation attributed to Gallogly so as to represent him as a Republican terrorist. However, the poet narrates Gallogly’s journey while the goal of this journey remains obscure, therefore he becomes enigmatic and so do the
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