December 2, 2014

Dec 2

Knowing My Place

Paul Muldoon


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SOLD: $13,000

First edition, signed twice, on the title-page and on the rear flyleaf, where Muldoon writes: “The first publication of Paul Muldoon, aged 19. Published by Ulsterman publications.” The book, he once told an interviewer, “ looked like it had been cobbled together. But I thought it was beautiful, and…it is still the most exciting thing that has happened to me.” Born in Moy, County Armagh in 1951, Muldoon “was reared on American TV and films,” as he told The Guardian in 2007. Seamus Heaney, of course, was a huge influence, and Muldoon studied English literature under him at Queens University. Heaney was instrumental in getting Faber to publish his next collection, New Weather in 1973 and Muldoon pays a playful homage to the older poet in the annotation beneath his poem “Leaving the Island:” “I visited Station Island, Lough Derg, 2 ½ times. Had I made 3 pilgrimages I’d have been assured of salvation.” He has annotated five other of the book’s 12 poems, saying of “Macha,” “This felt quite risqué at the time. My mother wished I didn’t write poems ‘like that.’” Of “Belfast,” he says: “I lived in Myrtlefield Park – South Belfast when this poem was written. It didn’t make the cut when my first book came out.” In 1987 Muldoon immigrated to the United States, where he has lived ever since, directing the creative writing program at Princeton University. An extremely rare publication.

MULDOON, Paul (b. 1951). Knowing My Place. [Belfast: Ulsterman Publications, 1971]. 8°. Green wrappers, 16pp.



© Michael Potiker

Paul Muldoon is the author of 12 books of poems, including Moy Sand and Gravel, for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, and the forthcoming One Thousand Things Worth Knowing. He is the Howard Clark University Professor at Princeton and Poetry Editor of The New Yorker.