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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.

"SPARROW 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."
— Harold Bloom

"Marriage 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."
— Mark Doty

"A private matter [SPARROW] may invoke, but it reaches to the center of so much loss - personal and public."
— Adrienne Rich

"SPARROW 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."
— Billy Collins

Carol Muske-Dukes is the director of the graduate program in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. Her last collection of poetry, An Octave Above Thunder, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has written three novels. Her most recent book, Married to the Icepick Killer: A Poet in Hollywood, a collection of essay on Hollywood and poetry, was published by Random House in 2002. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.

Carol Muske-Dukes
Publication Date: May 13, 2003
$19.95 - ISBN 0-375-50926-7
Boston Globe Review 08/03/03
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