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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.

Entries by Carol Muske-Dukes

Hillary: True Story

(3) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 5:01 PM

Recently Bill Maher made a half-serious joke about Hillary Clinton's rocky journey to the White House - noting that she "just doesn't know how to campaign." He said something like: "Last time you lost to an unknown inexperienced young black guy and now you're losing to a 72 year old...

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Gale Force

(24) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 1:31 PM

Recently, Kate Gale, publisher of the Los Angeles-based literary press, Red Hen, published a meant-to-be-satirical piece in her blog column in the Huffington Post -- and drew a firestorm.

Condemnation of Gale accelerated quickly and gained significant and serious momentum -- so that when the negative responses and her original...

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The Lion Does Not Sleep Tonight, a Modest Proposal

(2) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 6:22 PM

The Lion Does Not Sleep Tonight: a Modest Proposal to Stop Big Game Hunting?

A few years ago, I was on a plane about to take off from New York, headed to my home state of Minnesota, on the way to visit my family. I sat staring out the window...

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Poets in and out of Form

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 3:55 PM

Scavenger Loop, David Baker, W.W. Norton, 2015

David Baker has set forth, in his new book, Scavenger Loop, a rhetorical ecosystem that turns and re-turns within itself. What is so remarkable about this rhetorical model (both intact and attacking) -- is that the "familiar" (what we all see daily) presents...

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Is Your Vet Your Pet's (& Your) Best Friend? (Part 2)

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 2:44 AM

My previous post on being shown the door by a local vet here in Los Angeles, and my relatively gentle inquiry into this unregulated industry, drew much response: on-line comments as well as private emails. It appears that others have experienced similar treatment by both mega-corporate and other...

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Are Veterinarians Your Dog (and Your) Best Friends?

(1) Comments | Posted March 15, 2015 | 5:26 PM

First the Good News: I found the Perfect Veterinarian at a VCA Animal Hospital in L.A. I've decided not to use names here, but the vet I found deserves to be famous. He is bright, compassionate, adores animals and is brilliant at his job.

I was thrilled and relieved...

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Open Letter Poem

(2) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 8:25 PM

A single fact to start: Nicholas Kristof (and others) have reported that more women were killed in the last 50 years just for being women than all of the men in all of the wars of the 20th century! Come again? It's a fact. The men bought it in World...

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Augmented Reality

(2) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 12:19 PM

Mark Zuckerberg's cultivation of virtual reality with platforms bought for billions ($2 billion, Oculus VR) in order to make billions and to please billions drew these words from the FB entrepreneur: "One day we believe this kind of immersive virtual and augmented reality will become part of daily...

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Sit. Stay. Stay Away from Dog Treats from China!

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 10:29 AM

Dogs are smart. They are also trusting. They will eat, therefore, whatever their owners give them, in particular treats (chicken or duck jerky....) though it's true that some treats are eaten with more gusto than others. Some of these goodies, according to the FDA, have been linked to...

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Eating Wild

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 8:51 AM

A Review of EATING WILDLY: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal by Ava Chin, Simon & Schuster


I have only one reservation (not at a restaurant!) about this utterly absorbing, charming and instructive book -- and that is its title, Eating...

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Part Swan, Part Goose: A Review

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 3:26 PM

PART SWAN, PART GOOSE: an Uncommon Memoir of Womanhood, Work and Family, Swoosie Kurtz (with Joni Rodgers)

In this age of mega-puff celebrity biographies, self-important, sensationalistic, dumbed-down and glitzed-up with gossip and sex scandal, this "uncommon" memoir of Swoosie Kurtz feels new. Like any memoir, it traces an...

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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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