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Carol Muske-Dukes
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Carol Muske-Dukes is a poet (author of seven books of poems, the most recent, SPARROW, was a 2003 National Book Award finalist), four novels, (most recently, CHANNELING MARK TWAIN) and two collections of essays. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California and founding director of the graduate program in Creative Writing and Literature there. She has written reviews and essays for the NY Times Book Review and Op Ed, and was Poetry Columnist (Poet's Corner) at the LA Times Book Review for many years. She founded a prison writing program in NY State prisons called Art Without Walls/Free Space.

Blog Entries by Carol Muske-Dukes

Singing School: A Chorus

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2013 | 10:03 AM

SINGING SCHOOL, edited by Robert Pinsky, W.W. Norton Inc.
(New poetry in review)

Anthologies are intriguing in what they reveal of the editor's passions. Robert Pinsky opens his new poetry anthology (with its long title): SINGING SCHOOL: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the...

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Diving Into the Wreck: Reviewing the Reviewer

(18) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 4:22 PM

The Nation Magazine's current poetry critic, Ange Mlinko, attempted recently to revise the reputation of the late poet Adrienne Rich (and her Later Poems: Selected & New, from W.W. Norton, 2012) in a wandering self-congratulatory gesture at literary analysis. Readers of this review ("Diagram This," February 18, 2013) may find...

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Patt in the Hat: Not Coming Back??

(7) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 8:14 AM

On September 7, 2012, Los Angeles radio talk show host Patt Morrison said goodbye to her listening audience on KPCC, an L.A. public radio station, this way: "To all of you listeners in Southern California and beyond, to all of you who have come to Southern California from around the...

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Wizard of OZ - Romney

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2012 | 2:13 PM

I'm hoping that we'll all let up a little on Obama -- yes, he blew it and, yes, he appeared "un-sparkable," overwhelmed and even bored at the debate -- but I think we've all had our say on how we think "No Drama" played that night.

Obama has his...

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Nowhere Man

(6) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 11:00 AM

Reports come rocketing in from around the world -- head-butts between institutions and individuals: butlers and nuns and feminist punkers vs. same-old bureaucracies, status quo-ters and creaky cranky Old Boy hierarchies, religious and political.

In Rome, we have the Pope's butler going rogue, charged with "high crimes"...

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Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien! - Nora

(8) Comments | Posted July 1, 2012 | 2:17 PM

Last night I had a dream that starred Nora Ephron as Edith Piaf. I was a friend of Nora's (like half the Western world, I know) and like half the Western world I was shocked to learn, in one phone call last Tuesday, not only that Nora had cancer, but...

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Obama + Shelley Get it Right: Poets ARE the Unacknowledged Legislators of the World! (An OMNIBUS Book Review)

(1) Comments | Posted June 23, 2012 | 7:20 PM

The varieties of knowledge we gain from poetry usually go unremarked, yet from poems we learn about human behavior, politics, family life, education, the occult, cosmology, the physical sciences, technology, gardening, animals, geography, each of the arts and all religions -- not to mention love and death. This information is...

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Vatican: Vatican't! (Newsflash to Rome From Joan of Arc)

(83) Comments | Posted May 27, 2012 | 11:03 PM

I'm what they used to call a "fallen away" Catholic -- though I haven't fallen so far that I'm out of reach of the latest rotten apples dropped (or flung) from the twisted Tree of Rome. I weathered 16 years of Catholic education, some of it soul-deadening, some of it...

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Don't Bank on Banks -- Except for One!

(25) Comments | Posted December 5, 2011 | 8:41 AM

I visited Zuccotti Park while in NYC a month or so ago while it was still Occupied and alive with a jumpy confidence. It was late in the evening and I'd come down from the West Village with an old friend, head of an arts organization in the city. As...

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Scattershot Poetry Reviews -- Three Books

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2011 | 1:13 PM

I wish I had time to review the list of new books before me -- here are just three. I hope to keep up with more "roundup" reviews in the future.

Deborah Landau's second book, The Last Usable Hour (Copper Canyon) is as hypnotic as the change...

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More Response to Westen's "Story" Theory for Obama

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2011 | 2:18 PM

In the ongoing wide and choppy wake of the op-ed analysis of the president's failures in the New York Times August 7th -- here is one more response, below, from my friend Mary Yeager, Professor of economic history at UCLA. While I personally don't find psychoanalyzing of politicians...

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Thomas Jefferson Hated Dogs and Clergymen

(6) Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 5:15 PM

Well, that got your attention. Thomas Jefferson's life, loves, and antipathies seem relevant at this moment in history (as at others, like the founding of the republic) -- and I feel obliged to note that the "headline" above is true and refers to a time in 1808 when Jefferson learned...

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Varied Carols

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2011 | 2:25 PM

Bob Holman, my friend, fellow poet and co-editor of Crossing State Lines: An American Renga is in Kathmandu. It is not at all unusual for Bob to turn up in exotic locations -- he spends a bit of his time documenting and recording "disappearing" languages for his ongoing study of...

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Lost in Shangri-La

(2) Comments | Posted April 28, 2011 | 3:50 PM

Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, I had a good friend in grade school and high school named Mary Dennise ("Dennie") McCollom -- who is my friend to this day. As children, we were told that Dennie's father was dead, that he had died in World War II, that her...

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Who Investigates the Investigators?

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2011 | 10:38 AM

Women on college campuses are tired. They are tired of seeing that Same Old Enormity dressed up in its frat tie and colors, communicating in secret code re women as objects of ridicule and sexual predation. "An investigation has been launched" and "We hear your voice" -- has an insulting...

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The Rules According to a Fraternity "Cocksman"

(16) Comments | Posted March 10, 2011 | 3:26 PM

Read and weep or laugh, shake your head -- but be warned. If you dismiss this frat email as a joke or more of the "acceptable" "just being guys" open season on women -- you are missing that drone in the sky. We remain so inured to this kind of...

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Compared to What?

(99) Comments | Posted February 20, 2011 | 10:23 AM

Bill Maher is a hero of mine. He is brilliant, wildly funny, politically astute, a living antidote to media-speak and partisan yammering. But last Friday night on Real Time, Bill Maher missed the Real Point. It's the misogyny, stupid.

This point was made by Tavis Smiley, in response...

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Reading, Writing and Random Violence

(105) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 11:07 PM

On Jan. 19th, the New York Times ran a national feature entitled "Shooting in Arizona" -- a speculative piece on why Jared L. Loughner's mental deterioration wasn't "caught" prior to his shooting spree. The article was just one more in a series of soul-searchers in the press, part of a...

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Thanksgiving Book Reviews

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 11:52 PM

Here is a Thanksgiving cornucopia of significant new books of poetry -- each one worthy of our attention as it spins out a new and challenging perspective. Again, these are endorsements -- not complete reviews -- though each book here deserves a full critical examination and inquiry.


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"To a Soldier" Poem

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2010 | 12:24 PM

"To a Soldier" and text as posted on The Chronicle of Higher Education Arts & Academe page. To view this article on that site, click here.

To a Soldier

Imagine it: a world away, Autumn.
Leaves scattering but not in fiery
Effusion, like...

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