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Why You Should Care That Paul Muldoon Is The New Yorker's New Poetry Editor

Filed under: Headline Shooter   Tagged: , , , , ,

Just kidding. I’ll send one of Muldoon’s books to any reader who writes in to challenge the fundamental truth of the necessity of poetry (and reading poetry, for you philistines) in civilization, especially a civilization whose mantle, as last night’s dinner companion suggested, is thinner and closer to barbarism than we might have supposed.

Anyway, here are some responses to the recent news.

Dean Olsher (“The Next Big Thing”): “Can it be a coincidence that her departure comes on the heels of the magazine’s decision to publish this poem by Joni Mitchell?”

Joseph Campana for the Kenyon Review: “Quinn presided over the magazine’s controversially uncontroversial slate of poems often referred to as ‘New Yorker poems,’ which espoused less an aesthetic school than a cult of personality.”

Eyewear: “He’s the Auden of his generation (with perhaps some different habits) in terms of precocious ability, verbal style, intellectual vigour, and expatriated address. Hopefully he will get the magazine to publish more poems and more poetry reviews.”

Paul Muldoon, quoted in the Guardian: “I sincerely hope that every poem I publish there will have it in it to make a profound change in the reader,” he said. “That’s certainly my aim.”

New York magazine’s Vulture: “In other news, Paul Muldoon doesn’t want to publish your sestina, either.”

I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

(Also, unrelated: Here’s a brief Q. & A. with Seymour Hersh in the Jewish Journal.)


I was glad to hear this news — Muldoon should have some (more) interesting picks. This always struck me as probably the easiest job at the NYer (or anywhere) — pick 2 poems per week, okay, done — which made me wonder when I read that Quinn said she was leaving so it wouldn’t take away the time she needs to edit another Eliz. Bishop project. Thanks for the round-up of comments on this news. —MT

oh, thank GOD they’ve shunted quinn out of there. the last few weeks’ worth of poems must have been her revenge or something—i thought nothing could get worse than that bizarro bit about the coral, but then they ran that joni mitchell poem, and i started to wonder if maybe the poetry submissions were being handled by enviroconscious eight-year-old interns, or perhaps manatees. but now all will be well.

The ice age may have ended at The New Yorker. I’m cheered out here in the West. Maybe the cult of “the New Yorker poem” will expand into something as broad as the Dublin-Santa Fe school…
and I’m cheered. The Irish, as a friend at the LA Times put it, “invented literatoor.”

Georgia Jones-DavisDecember 04, 2007

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