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Descripción de editorial
A new collection of emotionally rich, issue-oriented poems from an award-winning poet whose work “has long been essential reading” (Jorie Graham)
Carol Muske-Dukes has won acclaim for poetry that marries sophisticated intelligence, emotional resonance, and lyrical intensity. The poems in her new collection, Blue Rose, navigate around the idea of the unattainable – the elusive nature of poetry, of knowledge, of the fact that we know so little of the lives of others, of the world in which we live. Some poems respond to matters of women, birth, and the struggle for reproductive rights, or to issues like gun control and climate change, while others draw inspiration from the lives of women who persisted outside of convention, in poetry, art, science: the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, the scientist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, and the Californian poet and writer Ina Coolbrith, the first poet laureate ever appointed in America.
In her first collection since 2004's Sparrow, former California Poet Laureate Muske-Dukes adopts a multi-perspectival approach to narrative, exploring mortality in a post-modern, increasingly global, and digitized cultural landscape. As a multigenre writer (she also publishes fiction and criticism), Muske-Dukes draws from an array of literary resources, bringing lyrical language to bear on narrative. "Did you think// they'd sculpt Art' out of the arsenal I lent them?" asks God in "Creation Myth." The work's hybridity and genre fluidity are its great attractions, resisting easy categorization as verse, essay, story, or collage. Yet Muske-Dukes's narrative impulse too often has the effect of detracting from the poems' mystery, as when the speaker of "Orphanage" concludes that "there was no home of course: I knew there never was one." Meanwhile, the luminous imagery the "Kewpie-pouts," "iron gates," and "clumsy spit curls" accomplish the difficult work of illuminating the poem's emotional topography. "I was used to the wind, those long billow-topped months," her speaker explains, allowing sensory details to convey the work's philosophical and emotional resonances. The poems are strongest in these moments, which exemplify a purposeful withholding of artistic intent. Muske-Dukes delivers genre hybridity in an unexpected way, but the pieces frequently succumb to the pitfalls of prose, telling readers plainly how each element of the story "aligns peacefully at last."