Following his highly-praised Shining Brow (1993), which was also written as an opera libretto for the American composer Daron Aric Hagen, Paul Muldoon's Bandanna takes us into very different territory. Its action is set in a small town on the Mexican border; it includes illegal immigrants and corrupt law officers among its dramatis personae; but at its heart is an old-fashioned tale of sexual jealousy and murderous revenge. The drama is powered by a strong emotional thrust, most of it conveyed in the form of popular song, and leading to a devastating climax. Bandanna demonstrates yet again the ever-increasing range of this most versatile of poets.

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