Twin Cities

Overview

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 move on to...

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Twin Cities

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Overview

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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even as she inhabits a mainstream of American culture focused on validating personal experience, Muske-Dukes stands out as a poet committed to lyrical intensity. The combination can be exhilarating, but it will occasionally frustrate more skeptical readers. There is an invigorating freedom and wit in lines like "Two dead friends are trumped/ By one late spouse" and "I'd rather imagine Catullus// Ranting in his brim-back ninth-inning cap," in which Muske-Dukes walks a tightrope over childhood, grief, sex, Hollywood, Minnesota, Beirut, and even poetry itself. For those who find a too-easy connection in those same lines, though, there is still what follows from her version of Catullus: "you're never going to feel better/ About losing the one person you never/ Wanted to lose," keen evidence of Muske-Dukes's ability to sharpen familiar subjects into something quick with feeling and perception. The book's title, which also belongs to three of its poems, suggests some of the neatness of Muske-Dukes's approach, which tends to see twos instead of either infinities or threes. But within that neatness she can still convincingly assert, "You could fail accurately at describing/ Your own life," a line whose startling accuracy is the deepest hallmark of this collection. (June)
Library Journal
Acclaimed poet and novelist Muske-Dukes (Sparrow; Channeling Mark Twain) tenderly ponders the self as both center and margin, both a real and an imagined pronouncement. She writes about loss in a language that absorbs all the commotion yet is never overwhelmed by it, and her earthy images pay homage to places that embody her own secrets and wonders. Most of the poems have a sense of crisis, ethical and emotional, that the poet highlights by juxtaposing two or more scenes, with the crisis tending to dissolve theatrically: "One Chador-clad woman reading Calvino/ on the train/ …I'll stand by the Kiss & Invisible Cities that/ Woman is reading/ Pal, they are saving us." Fading away, decaying, examining the scars that the passage of time leaves on what used to be fertile and dazzling—this is what Muske-Dukes does throughout ("Beauty grew too fast, like your body:/ Ungainly, unfaithful"). VERDICT A collection that highlights the richness that makes life mysterious and yet clear and immediate; for all readers.—Sadiq Alkoriji, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., FL
Elizabeth Lund
The lighter voice in this collection is sometimes heartbreakingly lovely, while the darker voice is bold and edgy…the strongest [poems], which make up most of this book, combine an adult's clear sight and a young girl's honesty…
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143119647
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/31/2011
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Muske-Dukes is the author of seven books of poetry, four novels, and two collections of essays. She is professor of English/Creative Writing at the University of Southern California and was appointed Poet Laureate of California in 2008. The recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, she lives in Los Angeles and New York City.
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