"The Theatre of Language: the Living Poem" - USC's Voices & Visions, 2008
2014 Tennis Tournament: "The Dukes"
Carol with Roger Lowenstein
Barnet Kellman, Tennis Czar!, with Annie Hamilton, Will Tranfo & Sam Sonenshine, the winners of the 2014 David Coleman Dukes USC School of Dramatic Arts scholarship, which the funds raised by the tournament support.
• Please go here to view more photos from past tournaments.
2011 National Book Festival
Summer in East Hampton - dogwalks on beach with Mark Doty
• Carol Muske-Dukes is part of the curatorial team of America: Now + Here and directs the poetry aspect along with Bob Holman.
• Please check out my friend Carol Olson Coote's splendid blog -- "Her Own Society" - with a nod to Emily Dickinson!
Donate online today at the USC Online Giving Site Please go the website to make a secure credit card donation. Your donation is tax deductible and a USC gift receipt will be sent to you via US mail.
The scholarship, established in memory of the late actor David Coleman Dukes, is awarded annually to a third-year Theater Arts student working toward a career in stage acting. A bronze plaque commemorating the scholarship benefit held in David Coleman Dukes' name can be seen in the lobby of the Bing Theater, off Queen's Court on the USC campus.
- Madeline Puzo, Dean, USC School of Theatre
"A writer and poet whose verse recently appeared in the Spring issue of The Paris Review–Carol Muske-Dukes has long been interested and active in presenting a public face of poetry. A former poet laureate of California and a teacher for many years, she founded the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing at the University of Southern California and began a writing program, in 1972, at the Women's House of Detention on Rikers Island in New York. On the heels of National Poetry Month, I spoke with Muske-Dukes at her home in Southern California about the many contemporary approaches to reading, writing, and thinking about the art of poetry, from hip-hop to "unoriginal genius" and how language matters."
Open Letter Poem: Huffington Post - November 14, 2014
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 Wars or regional wars or battles sanctioned by the State -- the women all died because they had female body parts!
Do we all know that a 27-year-old, critically ill woman (26 weeks pregnant) died recently while undergoing a Cesarean section ordered by a judge in Washington, D.C., in his attempt to save the fetus? (The judge, by the way, was aware of the great risk to the young woman's life.)
The world was outraged by the YouTube beheadings of journalists by ISIS, but, folks, women are beheaded (or stoned to death) with appalling regularity in countries like Saudi Arabia. Just for "being women" -- or for acting on human desire, for having an opinion, for seeking to be educated.
Sixteen-year-old Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai is shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up, in Pakistan, for the rights of young women to go to school. (You know the saying: The Taliban doesn't fear bombs or drones -- they fear a young woman with a book.)
From deadly gang-rapes in India, to rapes in the U.S. (and the billing of rape victims for rape kits!) to sexual harassment in the military to sexual violence on campuses across the U.S. -- hey, sisters, look around? Former President Jimmy Carter says in his book, A Call to Action, "The world's discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive and ignored violation of basic human rights."
What will it take for our feminist leaders to speak out? What will it take for our politicians (both parties) to finally admit that this assault on every aspect of a woman's existence has gone far enough?
I'm a poet. Who listens to poets? Nobody! But since it seems to me that very few other women (with some exceptions) are pushing back against this ongoing and universal assault on our sex, I've (yes!) written a poem of protest. Laughable? I intend to write more about this gender war. But for now, here is a poem about birth control. Yes, a poem.
When it is said that the tea party fundamentalists (like all fundamentalists, in whatever religion) are obsessed with "lady parts" -- and their critics charge that they are condemning us to the "dark ages" -- I offer this poem in response.
If the "dark ages" are understood to be any century prior to the one in which we (briefly) live -- then surely, if we go back to 6th and 5th centuries, B.C.E., to huge Cyrene ship trade from North Africa to Rome and beyond, we find that the biggest "seller" was a plant called Silphium, whose resin was a highly effective form of birth control. So effective and so wildly popular was this plant that a whole economy was built around it, and a currency -- a silver coin depicting a woman bowing to Silphium was as common as quarters are now.
But there's more. The symbol of this "safe sex" plant (or its seedpod, which resembled a woman's private parts) became the shape of what we call the "heart," the romantic sign of love.
It's obvious that our heart muscle doesn't look like the Valentine cartoon that fuels are image of romance and affection. The Silphium plant, however, and its curvy "pod" was painted on signs in the ancient world advertising safe sex and gave us that symbol. Which our ancestors were smart enough to know was necessary, fair and respectful of women. And men.
So next time you see a Valentine, think of birth control. That's where that sweet red symbol came from.
The missing history of the heart is here
Where the shape of Love originated -
Double lobe of an ancient seedpod.
Senator, our universal symbol of Love, the heart,
did not come from a pumping lump, but from
this pharma sign in ancient doorways, on walls,
meant to mimic a woman's intimate parts.
The good plant's ovary: an ad for safe sex,
Love without fear, when one sipped its elixir.
Look! Here is my sister, a talking vagina, re-
Minding you that a woman's sex is not a draw-
bridge, though girls can learn to crank a chain.
Would that it grew again, Senator, recultivated
Centuries after it was harvested to extinction.
Would that we could rocket back to that one
Shimmering patch of North African till-able.
The only place on earth it consented to grow.
Call up the cargo ships again, the winged vessels.
Women waited in the world's harbors, they wait still.
Not for "I want you", but for "I want you in small doses".
Paid for in coins from the temple of Silphium: mint image,
a woman, bowing to a plant between her legs. We pay in hearts now,
fake shapes of romance, boxed Valentines from your Church of Holy Come, becoming an eyelash of cells you won't be Daddy to, yet stamp your face
on the Mommy coin. Babies & guns, Senator: the heart of America!
But the smiley faces are frowning now: they "heart" the Right.
The drawbridge draws in. My sister, the talking vagina, remains silent.
Mark Strand & Carol Muske-Dukes at a Poetry Society event
THE WAR ON WOMEN WIDENS ITS BATTLEGROUND TO GAMING
NYTimes: Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in 'GamerGate' Campaign
Petition: Revoke the Tax-Exempt Status of the National Football League
I just signed the petition "Congress: Revoke the Tax-Exempt Status of the National Football League" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.
Our goal is to reach 500,000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
THE VOICE OF WOMEN IN AMERICAN POETRY:
with Cyrus Cassells, Carol Muske-Dukes, and Maggie Nelson
Thursday, Sep 18, 7:00pm
Pasadena Central Library Auditorium
285 E. Walnut St.
The PSA's 2014 National Series pays tribute to the immense achievement of a wide range of poets, from Emily Dickinson and Emma Lazarus to Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, and Wanda Coleman. In this Pasadena installment, distinguished contemporary poets will celebrate the lives and poetry of three 20th century figures, discussing their influence and reading poems of their own in tribute:
Cyrus Cassells on Ai
Carol Muske-Dukes on Ina Coolbrith
Maggie Nelson on on Eileen Myles
Co-sponsored by the Pasadena Central Library. For more information, visit PoetrySociety.Org.
A Tribute to Mark Strand (Thursday, Oct 9, 7:00pm)
The New School
The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street
66 West 12th Street
New York, NY
Please join us as we celebrate the 80th birthday of legendary poet Mark Strand. With readings and tribute by Jonathan Aaron, John Beer, Peg Boyers, Timothy Donnelly, Jorie Graham, Edward Hirsch, John Koethe, David Lehman, Honor Moore, Carol Muske-Dukes, Jacqueline Osherow, Mary Jo Salter, Alan Shapiro, Vijay Seshadri, Charles Simic, Tom Sleigh, Susan Stewart, Rosanna Warren, Charles Wright, and Andrew Zawacki.
Co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, the New School Writing Program, and the Poetry Foundation
Mom at 98 with daughter (me) & great-grandaughter Louisa
At the Guthrie Theatre - in the "amber box" overview - with my sister Michele Mueller & sis-in-law Jane Pates Muske, August 21: Minnesota
Ebola Research Slow-Down by Big Pharmaceutical Companies: Meanwhile we look at our navels through big-sell "reality"
August 5, 2014 - Huffington Post - Augmented Reality
Order Poetry, Fiction & Essays by Carol Muske-Dukes from OPEN ROAD MEDIA — re-published as E-BOOKS!
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA LAUNCHES EBOOKS BY FORMER
CALIFORNIA POET LAUREATE CAROL MUSKE-DUKES
Muske-Dukes was hailed by Donald Justice as "One of the best poets of her generation."
"Accomplishes just what art is supposed to accomplish: it makes the world new." —The New Yorker
"The linkage of blood and blood; the hummingbird, symbol of all that is luminous, swift, and ephemeral; the light, sure touch-these are characteristic of [Muske-Dukes'] art." —The New York Times Book Review
(New York, NY—June 10, 2014)—Open Road Integrated Media, a digital publisher and multimedia content company, announced today that it will release and market seven works by Carol Muske-Dukes on June 10:
· Dear Digby
· I Married the Icepick Killer
· Saving St. Germ
Carol Muske-Dukes is the author of eight books of poems, four novels, and two essay collections, and is an editor of two anthologies, including Crossing State Lines: An American Renga, which she coedited with Bob Holman. Many of her books have been New York Times Notable selections. Muske-Dukes is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Southern California, where she founded the PhD program in creative writing and literature, and she recently fulfilled her appointment as poet laureate of California, appointed by the governor's office. Her poetry collection Sparrow was a National Book Award finalist and she is a six-time Pushcart Prize winner. She writes for the New York Times Book Review and the New York Times op-ed page, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, and the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog. Her poems have been published and anthologized widely, including in several editions of Best American Poetry. Muske-Dukes has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Library of Congress award, Barnes & Noble's Writer for Writers Award, and many other honors. She lives in Southern California and New York.
About Open Road Integrated Media: Open Road Integrated Media is a digital publisher and multimedia content company that creates connections between authors and their audiences. Open Road has published ebooks from legendary authors including William Styron, Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, James Jones and Virginia Hamilton.
The Voices and Faces of Palestine - Summer, 2014
POETRY & PHOTOGRAPHY - Confessions at Midrange by Nathalie Handal >>
Carol Muske-Dukes visited Hotchkiss on September 25, 2013
Recent Poems in The Paris Review & Smithsonian Magazine
Click here to read "Mark Twain's Dream", a new poem published in Smithsonian Magazine. Another recent poem, "No Hands", is in the current issue of The Paris Review (No. 208, Spring 2014).
Annie & Mom make traditional candy cane cookies for Christmas - Annie's house - Oregon
Please use the following high-quality resolution photos for all press and articles:
The second photo is by Carlos Puma.
The third photo is by Micah Baird (Women's Wear Daily).
Yale AIDS Memorial Project
"Paul Monette and his friend Carol Muske-Dukes exchanged poems during difficult periods of their lives. The poems and their correspondance is featured in the following slideshow link, along with Carol's reflection on these exchanges." >>
The Magical Poetry Blimp Pilot's Guide #2 is now available at Amazon. >>
2011 National Book Festival
NPR Interview with Terri Gross
Listen to Carol Muske-Dukes' interview on National Public Radio's Fresh Air with Terri Gross from July 5, 2007 >>
Academy of American Poets — Poem-A-Day
Carol Muske-Dukes' After Skate is featured as the Poem-A-Day for May 20, 2013. >>
The Best American Poetry 2012 is available at Amazon and other bookstores. This anthology includes a poem by Carol Muske Dukes. For more information, visit the book's website.
Slouching Toward a Brief Literary History of Southern California
Read this essay by Carol Muske-Dukes, originally published on October 19, 1997 in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. >>
Carol Muske-Dukes: A Partial New York Times Archive
• Past New York Times articles by Carol Muske-Dukes >>
Life and Work
• Carol Muske-Dukes, USC Professor of English and Creative Writing, talks about how poetry is part of her life -- and her work. >>
Video by Mira Zimet & USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
Note from Carol Muske-Dukes
Though I've stepped down as California Poet Laureate - I am still committed to The Magical Poetry Blimp (and GET LIT/Words Ignite)! Please help The Blimp fly high with our continuing projects -- provide a tax-deductible donation:
Click on http://getlit.org/support-us/ in order to donate to the Blimp (Magical Poetry Blimp is found under the "Organization" drop-down menu) --
• Channeling Mark Twain, 2007
• Life AFter Death, 2000
• Saving St. Germ, Viking, 1993
• Dear Digby, 1989
• Married to the Icepick Killer:
A Poet in Hollywood, 2002
• Women & Poetry, 1997
• Crossing State Lines: An American Renga, co-edited: Carol Muske-Dukes & Bob Holman, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011
• The Magical Poetry Blimp Pilot's Guide, editor: Carol Muske-Dukes, with Diana Arterian, Figueroa Press, 2011
Many of these collections were New York Times Most Notable Books.
A sophisticated and lyrical new collection from one of today's finest living poets
Carol Muske-Dukes is an acclaimed novelist and poet whose latest collection, Sparrow,
a haunting elegy for her late husband, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Twin
Cities is an emotionally rich book of poems about how things double - by reflection,
by reproduction, by severance. The poems embark from the twin cities of Minneapolis
and St. Paul, divided by a legendary river, and then move on to the parallel histories of
a life lived and a life imagined - and the random intersection of the two. Lit by loss,
these moving poems navigate between the poles of love and grief, curse and blessing,
abandonment and rescue - they are two, and they are one.
Praise for Twin Cities:
"Exploding with capacity and ambition, Carol Muske-Dukes' new poems are the
strongest yet from a poet whose work has long been essential reading. Twin Cities
formal and architectural intelligence is stunning, as well as heart-stopping in its insight
into 'how damage is made.' The richness of the language is made to carry the maximum
bearable amount of emotion - political, spiritual, social, familial, erotic - via brightly-lit
imagery which astounds with its originality, felicity, and honesty."
- Jorie Graham
Poet, essayist, and novelist Muske-Dukes discerns metaphorical resonance in her birthplace, St. Paul,
Minnesota, and its twin city, Minneapolis. The symbiosis between the twin cities with a river between
them inspires reflections on various forms of doubleness in poems as beautifully contoured and polished as river stones turned and lathed and buffed by deep currents. Muske-Dukes' language is earthy and
unadorned, and yet, within her gleaming lines, common words shape-shift and morph into fresh and
disarming imagery and realizations. In vibrant tableaus, wrenching stories, portraits, elegies, social
objections, and metaphysical equations, the poet––lyrical, mournful, and funny—considers such "twins" as
life and death, past and present, war and peace, men and women, art and life, yes and no. Ice-skaters do the whip; two kids labor over a condolence note; a mirror frames the essence of a relationship. The poet,
Muske-Dukes muses, is a "go-between," a "double emissary," and she nimbly and exquisitely performs the
poet's spirit-sustaining art of observation, remembrance, protest, connection, and drollery in a lucid,
involving, and deeply gratifying collection.
— Donna Seaman (from BOOKLIST)
• Note from Carol on Nora's passing >>
• Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien! - Nora >>
Huffington Post Blog
• SOLDIER TO POET: An Exchange >>
• Soldier to Poet (Part II) >>
• Soldier to Poet: Naming of Parts (Part III) >>
• Singing School: A Chorus >>
• Diving Into the Wreck: Reviewing the Reviewer >>
• Patt in the Hat: Not Coming Back?? >>
• Wizard of OZ - Romney >>
• Nowhere Man >>
• Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien! - Nora >>
• Obama + Shelley Get it Right: Poets ARE the Unacknowledged Legislators of the World! (An OMNIBUS Book Review) >>
• April is National Poetry Month. The Women's Conference and California's First Lady Maria Shriver want to honor the importance of art, creativity and poetry in our lives. During April, they'll be sharing some of their favorite poems. They have chosen to feature two of Carol Muske-Dukes' poems (Twin Cities and Boy) here.
• Voice of America -
US National Poetry Month Encourages Reading, Writing Verse >>
• Suttee at Slate.com. You can also listen to a podcast of Carol reading this poem. >>
• Video clips of The Creative Community and Poetry Readings >>
• Podcast of Carol's 2007 interview on NPR's Fresh Air with Terri Gross >>
• Poets Rita Dove, Carol Muske-Dukes, Marilyn Nelson and Lisa Russ Spaar perform as "The Pink Tuxedos" at the 2001 conference of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) in Palm Springs, CA. [Watch video clip]
Crossing State Lines:
An American Renga Edited by Bob Holman and Carol Muske-Dukes
Order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
A collaborative poem about America, from fifty-four of our best poets
Crossing State Lines: An American Renga is a poetic relay race across the continent: fifty-four poets responding to ideas of America-and to each other. This is a collaborative journey of impressions-from the election and inauguration of President Obama, through foreclosures, job losses, chords of country music, and bombs in Baghdad, to a poet-soldier's rifle-sight in Afghanistan.
The renga itself, in the ancient tradition of Japanese linked verse, provides the form of this historic conversation among the poets, as they meditate, within ten lines, on a moment in America. Crossing State Lines begins with Robert Pinsky's recounting of a line of poetry by Lincoln as fall deepens and "maples / kindle in the East," and ends some five hundred lines later, with Robert Hass's "greeny April" on the Pacific coast.
All proceeds from sales go to America: Now + Here.
• Sotheby's Benefit Auction for America: Now & Here in New York on June 23, 2010. From left to right: actress Swoosie Kurtz, playwright Marsha Norman, poet Carol Muske-Dukes, and poet Bob Holman.
The Magical Poetry Blimp Pilot's Guide is available at Amazon. The Magical Poetry Blimp Pilot's Guide #2 has also been released recently. >>