The Weekend Australian ran a review of Paul Muldoon’s eleventh poetry collection, Maggot (a book which has been making many ‘best of the year lists’).
The review, written by UQP Poetry Editor, Felicity Plunkett opens by taking a scientific view of this most often despised little wriggler:
MAGGOTS burgeon where form and flesh disintegrate. Because they only consume necrotic tissue, maggots are sometimes introduced into wounds to initiate the healing process.
And I am sure that many will share Plunkett’s trepidation as she intially questions, what maggots have to do with poetry. But by the end, Plunkett assures us that,
Muldoon dazzlingly replaces this with another question: what don’t maggots have to do with poetry?
It’s a review that sent me off on a search to find out more, so I have to say it did its job well. That’s where things get interesting…
In my travels I came across a second review of Maggot by Todd Swift. This is a review in the shape of a poem; a whirling response, triggered by the reading of Muldoon’s collection.
So sounding like a poet you’re not is like igniting a spark
That was already burning; looping ancient learning;
Unrolling dead scrolls – doh! – from their guarded dome;
Returning home got-up like St Jerome clutching a jeroboam;
Every grain that grates the oyster or grit that grists the mill
Is a million-to-one bet that your style is golden
You couldn’t find two more different ways of coming to the book, but again, if this is what it stirs inside of Swift, then I wouldn’t mind a dose of the same.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these two ways of approaching Maggot. I am sure many would argue that Swift’s is not a review at all… but, in short, I think I need to make room for a copy of Maggot on my bookshelves.