A Ruckus with Rackett

Laura Clark

Their attire accurately reflects their professions; looking at them on the makeshift stage, crowd members might have pegged them for an IT guy, a couple of professors, maybe a lawyer and a youngish one or possibly a grad student. In fact, their myspace.com profile confirms each of these predictions. Middle-aged men in button downs and zip-ups transformed Donovan’s pub last Friday night, rocking away with references to the Decameron and the divorce rate.

While their music was easy to appreciate, its commercialized sound has definitely been done before. Yet one could immediately tell that the lyrics were another story.

Princeton Professors Nigel Smith and Paul Muldoon combined forces in 2004 and have produced some highly original lyrics. The combination of catchy tunes and witty rhymes drew an entirely different crowd than student band Sonic Symposium had done at the Pub’s Thursday Night Music Series the night before. Where there had been clusters of excited Hamilton Central High School students jumping up and down, now the booths and floor were largely occupied by professors. For this we have Paul Muldoon to thank. By the time this article is read, many will have already heard of him.

His accomplishments make him a particularly prestigious visitor to the University: Muldoon was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection of poems entitled Moy Sand and Gravel in 2003 and he was just appointed the poetry editor of The New Yorker. He is a short stocky native of Ireland, whose hipness is measured by the height of his graying fro and the fender telecaster in his hands.

The visiting poet and lyricist finished off a multifarious takeover of Colgate’s extracurricular calendar with the performance of his band. Muldoon also lectured on poetry Wednesday as part of the English department’s Living Writer Series and participated in a reception at Merrill House. And if Rackett is any indication, Muldoon certainly caused a commotion amid the Colgate community.