Skylight by Carol Muske-Dukes

Book Review : Skylight

By Carol Muske-Dukes

  • Publication Date: 2014-06-10
  • Genre: Poetry

Book Review

Poetry from a writer celebrated as one of the most distinctive voices of her generation

Among the thirty-five poems in Skylight are sonnets, sestinas, and free verse forms on topics ranging from politics to architecture and science. In one volume, Muske-Dukes, National Book Award finalist and former Poet Laureate of California, incorporates multitudes, unified by her lyrical style and rapier-sharp observations. The sonnet “Fireflies” explores a strained relationship that is healed, for one moment, in a nighttime walk lit by the pulsing signals of firefly life. “The Funeral” confronts the stark playground atmosphere in the wake of a child’s funeral. In the melancholy and unforgettable title poem, an “apartment in the sky” in New York City spins before the reader’s eyes.

“On a dark day, when I’ve read too much, and all the poets start turning into each other, I like to think about Carol [Muske-Dukes], who only turns into more wonderful versions of herself. Her dazzle and virtuosity are one of a kind: Mozartean. That’s as high as I know how to go.” —Carolyn Kizer 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.

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