The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2017


The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2017 to Paul Muldoon

The Poetry Medal Committee has recommended the poet Paul Muldoon as this year's recipient of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, on the basis of the body of his work.

Mr Muldoon was born in County Armagh in 1951 and studied at Queen’s University, Belfast, before publishing his first collection of poetry in 1973, and working as a BBC producer in Northern Ireland; in 1981 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Mr Muldoon has produced twelve major collections of poetry as well as books for children, song lyrics, opera libretti and works of criticism. He has lived chiefly in the United States for the last thirty years, teaching at Princeton University (since 1987) and editing The New Yorker (2007-17). His work has received many awards both in the UK and abroad, including the Pulitzer Prize (2003). Mr Muldoon was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University 1999-2004. He holds joint British/United States nationality.

Summing up the Committee's choice, The Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, said:

Paul Muldoon is widely acclaimed as the most original and influential poet of the past 50 years and is rightly celebrated alongside Seamus Heaney. His poetry displays a restless playful brilliance, forever searching for new ways to channel his ideas and new language to dress them in. He is ambitious, erudite, witty and musical. He can experiment with form and stand tradition on its head, craft a tender elegy or intimate love poem with equal skill. His work is of major significance internationally – poetry of clarity, invention, purpose and importance which has raised the bar of what’s possible in poetry to new heights.

Mr Muldoon will be presented with the medal by The Queen in 2018.

History of the Gold Medal for Poetry

The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. The Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis either of a body of work over several years, or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award. The poet will be from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm, and the poems will have been published.

The front of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen. The idea of the reverse, which was designed by the late Edmund Dulac, is ‘Truth is emerging from her well and holding in her right hand the divine flame of inspiration – Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty’. 

Previous recipients of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry:

1934    Laurence Whistler

1936    W H Auden

1940    Michael Thwaites

1952    Andrew Young

1953    Arthur Waley

1954    Ralph Hodgson

1955    Ruth Pitter

1956    Edmund Blunden

1957    Siegfried Sassoon

1959    Frances Cornford

1960    John Betjeman

1962    Christopher Fry

1963    William Plomer

1964    R S Thomas

1965    Philip Larkin

1967    Charles Causley

1968    Robert Graves

1969    Stevie Smith

1970       Roy Fuller

1971       Sir Stephen Spender

1973       John Heath-Stubbs

1981       D J Enright

1986       Norman MacCaig

1988       Derek Walcott

1989       Allen Curnow

1990       Sorley Maclean

1991       Judith Wright

1992       Kathleen Raine

1996       Peter Redgrove

1998       Les Murray

2000       Edwin Morgan

2001       Michael Longley

2002       Peter Porter

2003    U A Fanthorpe

2004    Hugo Williams

2006       Fleur Adcock

2007       James Fenton

2009       Don Paterson

2010       Gillian Clarke

2011       Jo Shapcott

2012       John Agard

2013       Douglas Dunn

2014       Imtiaz Dharker

2015       Liz Lochhead

2016       Gillian Allnutt

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