Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Carol Muske Dukes

APPLAUSE
CHANNELING MARK TWAIN
DEAR DIGBY
LIFE AFTER DEATH
MARRIED TO THE ICEPICK KILLER: A POET IN HOLLYWOOD
AN OCTAVE ABOVE THUNDER
RED TROUSSEAU
SAVING ST GERM
SPARROW
WOMEN AND POETRY
WYNDEMERE



Applause
Copyright © 1989
by Carol Muske
U of Pittsburgh P

With subtlety and intelligence, Muske (Camouflage) creates tensions that are chilling and sharp; she limns emotional and physical distances, unavoidable ambiguity and contradiction. Her acceptance of these "issues" is never passive — this collection is rife with questions, doubts, reluctant resignations. A 12-part title poem explores the ritual and symbolism suggested by applause: "I am the one watching / you and saying it is good, making my two hands the collision of / love and power." — Publisher's Weekly



Channeling Mark Twain
Copyright © 2008
by Carol Muske Dukes
Random House




Dear Digby
Copyright © 1989
by Carol Muske Dukes
Viking Penguin

Though Willis Digby, letters editor for the feminist journal Sisterhood (SIS), sometimes wears a tux and rabbit ears to work, she's not crazy. She claims this get-up sensitizes her to the silent pleas of some of her correspondents, with whom she becomes personally involved. Her relationship with Iris, a 35-year-old mental hospital inmate, eventually becomes a lifesaving friendship; a flippant response to "The Watcher" leads to a dangerous encounter; and a romp in Central Park with members of WITCH (Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy) lends humor to this tale of one woman's campaign to protect the vulnerable from so-called sane members of society. In so doing, Digby uncovers the truth about a traumatic incident in her own childhood which haunts her still. Funny, sad, and highly recommended. — Library Journal
This silly, sentimental valentine of a book is saved by Muske-Dukes's natural flair for comedy. — Publisher's Weekly



Life After Death
Copyright © 2002
by Carol Muske Dukes
Random House




Married to the Icepick Killer
Copyright © 2002
by Carol Muske Dukes
Random House




An Octave Above Thunder
Copyright © 1997
by Carol Muske
Penguin Putnam

An Octave Above Thunder presents a collection of poems spanning more than twenty years in the career of Carol Muske, who has won acclaim for work that marries sophisticated intelligence, emotional resonance, and technical craft. This volume brings together new poems and a generous selection of work from Muske's five previously published collections. — from the jacket
The poet who walks these pages isn't a poet of ecstasy and exuberance but, in a lineage that extends back in this century to the later Yeats, a poet of responsibility. Her diction is clear and distinct; her stanzas are well formed and Cartesian; her poems develop with a kind of classical inevitability; and, especially in her more recent work, she occasionally exhibits a full-blown, stately formalism. — The New York Times Book Review


Red Trousseau
Copyright © 1993
by Carol Muske
Viking Penguin

Carol Muske has been called one of the best poets of her generation. The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Carolyn Kizer, commented that her technical dazzle and virtuosity are "one of a kind: Mozartian." The poems in her new collection, Red Trousseau, use Los Angeles as a symbol for the seduction of appearances; in the title poem, reality crosses from the Wallace Stevens notion of the sun "hovering in its guise of impatient tribunal" to a director's reshooting of a tarnished sunset, so that "the scene, infinite, rebegins." In Carol Muske's work, red, blue, and yellow dominate, serving to link such disparate things as a soundstage's fake prie dieu, a precinct station map of gang activity, and a schoolgirl's model of the planets, all of which take on the red of Salem burnings, the self-immolation of a political dissident in Prague, and Eros itself, moving like a red shadow over the body of love. Fate in Red Trousseau is drawn by a biochemist as a chemical, recodable spiral inside us, looping back and forth like a mobius of DNA or a movie reel; like a director or a lover, a rebeginning. Muske's Hollywood, also deriving much of its spiraling energy from another modernist, Marianne Moore, circles around its version of reality, infinitely rebeginning, until it becomes wholly the form. Life is made into an object — beautiful, but no longer life. Until, of course, the writer begins a new story, spiraling around a new apprehension of the world that is dangerous, political, and most of all, erotic. Stylistically brilliant and emotionally resonant, the poems in Red Trousseau display the work of a master poet at the peak of her craft. — from the jacket
Muske's poems have an eerie style and wit; they glow with a sophisticated intelligence that is elegantly displayed in deft word choice and nimble technical effects. Her poems frequently evoke the image of a poet/magus whose verbal alchemy transforms the ordinary into the strange and the strange into the bizarre or otherworldly, sometimes to stunning effect. — Library Journal
Red — the color of eroticism, heat and danger 3 fills this provocative collection of poems by Muske (Applause). A murdered woman in "a sunset-colored dress"; red mouths; stigmata; the sacred heart; Masai red beads; Chinese bridal gowns; scarlet flames around martyrs 3 red gives illumination as the poet focuses her lens on the beauty and horror of contemporary life. Muske's poetic scope ranges from her home city of Los Angeles, "that famous city, city of fame, all trash and high / cheekbones, making itself up with the dreamy paints / of a First Stage Alert" to Prague, where "History, like a bus, stopped and let us off, / in a pool of some light substance" and the poet sifts through the metaphorical ashes of Czech Jan Palach, who burned himself to death in protest against the 1968 Soviet invasion. Such mixed motivation for the desire for martyrdom serves as the theme again in the title poem, when the speaker "suspected her mind of collaboration, / apperceptive ecstasy, the flames wrapped / about her like a red trousseau, yes, / the dream of immolation." — Publisher's Weekly



Sparrow
Copyright © 2004
by Carol Muske Dukes
Random House




Saving St Germ
Copyright © 1993
by Carol Muske Dukes
Viking Penguin

A prescient novel for the 1990s. — New York Newsday


Women and Poetry:
Truth, Autobiography,
and the Shape of the Self
Copyright © 1997
by Carol Muske Dukes
U of Michigan P

With critical insights buoyed by her poet's gifts for metaphor and wit, she effectively places women at the center of what is most exciting about poetry today. — New York Times



Wyndemere
Copyright © 1985
by Carol Muske Dukes
University of Pittsburgh P

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