Because Colbert said so
June 25, 2009
This video of Paul Muldoon appearing on Stephen Colbert‘s Colbert Nation was brought to our attention the other day via Twitter. In it, after a chat about poetry and why we still need it, (and how Muldoon puts food on the table with it) he and Stephen ‘I got a black belt in haiku’ Colbert recite Muldoon’s poem ‘Tea’ together, ‘to make it the number one poem in America’.
Colbert succeeded in making Robert Pinsky’s ‘Samurai Song’ the number 1 poem in America in 2007.
We put it on Facebook and it did the rounds of the SPL. Robyn has just reported back, having found it immensely entertaining. But it made us ponder sadly the dearth of prime time slots afforded poets in Britain. Poetry is instead packed into one big season, singled out as something we should like, presupposing that few do, instead of dropped on the radio after the weather or played before Eastenders. Do we have an equivalent of Colbert? Someone who makes something popular by mere mention? We couldn’t think of anyone…
Today on Amazon.com, Muldoon’s Madoc: A Mystery is is a list-topper, the search term ‘Muldoon tea’ guesses itself as soon as you complete ‘Muldoon’, and one Amazon reviewer writes: ‘Stephen Colbert read from this with Paul Muldoon. I didn’t really care for the poem, but if Stephen Colbert reads it it must be a 5/5.’