The Los Angeles Times has said about acclaimed poet, novelist and critic Carol Muske-Dukes: "Ah, that wonderful, rare thing: a poet who has the ability to deepen the secrets of experience even while revealing them." SPARROW (Random House; May 13, 2003), a luminous new volume of poetry from Muske-Dukes, continues to deepen these secrets. Muske-Dukes's warm and compassionate voice mesmerizes as it draws the reader into a remarkable, devastating world of love and loss.
In the wake of personal tragedy, the death of her husband, Muske-Dukes strips away the layers of invention that make up a man, a marriage, love, and grief. "What is the difference between love and grief?" she asks in a poem, and finds no answer but the fragility of life itself. SPARROW is a journey through the landscape of her grief; and on a larger scale, a passionate meditation on the aligned arts of poetry and acting, the marriage of two artists and their transformative powers of experssion and experience. With this profound, elegiac collection, Carol Muske-Dukes has once again shown herself to be one of today's finest living writers.
is worthy of the tradition that includes Elizabeth Bishop, May Swenson
and Amy Clampitt. It has their vibrant intensity, authentic insight
and uncanny power of describing what is at the border between the
visual and the visionary... I think it difficult to speak of ... SPARROW
without invoking comparisons with the very best poetry now being written
in the English-speaking world."
is a pact with an other both beloved and unknowable-and loss, therefore,
means losing both what we know and what we can never circumscribe.
SPARROW is a stunning elegy for the actor David Coleman Dukes, but like all
great poetry, it reaches beyond the specifics of a life, or a death."
matter [SPARROW] may invoke, but it reaches to the center of so much
loss - personal and public."
is a powerful, compelling journey from the loss of a personal paradise
to the regaining that follows. Carol Muske-Dukes shows us how grief
can be stabilized by craft and sense brought to bear on anguish, one
careful line of poetry at a time."