Muldoon's Picnic

Muldoon's Picnic

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Muldoon's Picnic
Irish Arts Center/NYC

On the second Monday of the month's through December, Pulitzer Prize winning poetry editor Paul Muldoon hosts an "omnium-gatherum" of words and music.  In plain english, he hosts an old fashioned public salon featuring high wattage literary talent and musical guests.  The name refers to a turn-of-the-last century musical revue and the evening's host's name.

On September 8, the line-up featured the British novelist Zadie Smith and her husband, the Northern Irish poet Nick Laird. Smith read an essay on the contemplations of motherhood and the way it divides you from your former self.  She hasn't lost her touch.  She then read from one of her novels, seamlessly performing the accents of the varied neighborhoods of London.  I hadn't yet read any of her work, but the next day I ordered one of her books, White Teeth.

Nick Laird then read some published poems--some not.  He has a gentle wit that skewers much but also lives in wonder of the world.  His read the title poem from Go Giants, a slim volume that underscores the relevancy of poetry in the twenty-first century. 

Music was provided by the Wayside Shriners, Muldoon's band of professors and aspiring musicians.  They were fronted for a couple of songs by Aoife, who has the same knack for lyrics as Muldoon.  

Upcoming guests include authors Joyce Carol Oates and Rick Moody as well as poets and musicians from Tracy K. Smith to Martin Hayes.


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