Paul Muldoon will discuss working with Paul McCartney at Morristown Festival of Books

muldoon mccartney


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon will discuss his work on Paul McCartney’s 2021 book, “Lyrics: 1956 to the Present,” on the second day of the Oct. 7-8 Morristown Festival of Books.

The festival recently posted on its Facebook page, “What was it like to work with Paul McCartney on his new book THE LYRICS? Paul Muldoon will tell us about his experience serving as editor on the book, and meeting with McCartney dozens of times between 2015 and 2020.”

Muldoon teaches poetry and songwriting at Princeton University and also leads the rock band Rogue Oliphant. In an interview about his work on “Lyrics” that ran on the university’s website, he said, “Our sessions usually ran for three hours and, in each, we usually discussed six or eight songs. These conversations were recorded on two machines (for safety’s sake), and then transcribed. I edited the transcription into a continuous commentary on each of 154 songs.

“… we were devoted to the idea that, somewhat like himself and John Lennon, we wouldn’t leave the room without something new to show for it. That meant that we were actually a little wary of what was at his fingertips. It was likely to give the reader a sense of déjà vu. I am very interested in the role of the unconscious in the creative process so I often tried to provoke him into ways of thinking about his songs he mightn’t otherwise have considered.”

Muldoon also has called the book “as close to an autobiography as we may ever come.”

The festival’s Keynote Event will feature longtime New York Times columnist Frank Bruni discussing his memoir, “The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found,” with NBC’s Katy Tur, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

For more on the festival’s other attractions, visit


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