Harman Writer-In-Residence, Spring 2006
photo by Robbie Kriences
Carol Muske-Dukes is the author of seven books of poems (the most recent, Sparrow, published by Random House, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2003), three novels, and two collections of essays. Her poems, novels, and essays have received numerous awards, including the Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, six Pushcart Prizes, the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Yale Review Smart Foundation Prize and others. Many of her books have been named Notable Books by The New York Times. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize.
Her most recent collection of essays, Married to the Icepick Killer: A Poet in Hollywood, was named a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year in 2002. She has been published extensively, anthologized widely, and reviewed in numerous publications including The New Yorker and Slate. She is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Southern California and the founding director of the USC PhD Program in Creative Writing and Literature.
Muske-Dukes contributes to the New York Times Book Review and writes a regular poetry column for The Los Angeles Times called Poet’s Corner. Two of her novels have been optioned for feature films. Her new novel, just completed for Random House, is called Channeling Mark Twain. She lives in New York City. (December 2005).
“This is your passport I hold in my hand:
A hemisphere, half red ink, half blue —
As yet untorched by terror, but polluted
perhaps by the gaze of the future. For
example, the shadow of the parachute of
my desire, this rip-cord rip of your photo-
blink, your eyes translated into these
flashing sad idioms. Take this blank page
for the remainder, the last boring national
tattoos. Wave me through these invisible
brackets of lightning. Stars shatter on
the epaulets of all the uniforms, the hats
and coats of countries that no longer exist.
I wear your insignia, therefore I wear death’s
insignia. Which means that nothing can hurt me.
And with these wings and flames, I pledge
allegiance to nothing: I can go anywhere.”
— From “Passport: A Manifesto” in Sparrow
Carol Muske-Dukes most recent collection, Channeling Mark Twain, appeared in 2007. She was appointed poet laureate of California in 2008. (June 2009).