Blue Rose (Penguin Poets) (Paperback)

By Carol Muske-Dukes

Penguin Books, 9780143131250, 80pp.

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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.  

About the Author

Carol Muske-Dukes is the author of eight books of poems, including Sparrow, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; four novels; two collections of essays; and Crossing State Lines:  An American Renga, co-edited with Bob Holman.  She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, and was California Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2011.

Praise For Blue Rose (Penguin Poets)

“Muske-Dukes writes with piercing clarity about both current events and personal struggles . . .the intensity of these poems – which seek to know more about the lives of others and our world – is difficult to forget.”The Washington Post
“This book is the culmination of a lifetime of poetry writing and acquired wisdom.  The poetry is at the highest level but it’s also about daily life:  poetry as life story . . . the overriding theme is learning to be who you are in a world of massive possibility.” – Michael Silverblatt, “Bookworm”

"In this collection . . . [women] are rare and mysterious, afflicted and abused, generous and generative, soaring above circumstance. Although this book tells many stories, it belongs to the histories and tumultuous hours of women whose lives we might not even notice otherwise . . . These poems offer us pictures of unsung choices that shape women’s lives." – The Rumpus

“Muske-Dukes’s skill in these poems is her ability to ground her public and private concerns so firmly in compelling images, graceful allusion and lyrical cadence . . . her poems are an active resistance to erasure; they elevate, explore and elegize the experience of women who have already been erased by circumstance, society, and history.” – Lorna Knowles Blake, The Hudson Review

“A kaleidoscopic work, both politically charged and personal.  Family events, feminist celebrations and activist struggles have a transcendental element.” – Carol Rumens, The Guardian

“Poems of keen attunement . . . Muske-Dukes wields a finely calibrated matter-of-factness shot through with frissons of wonder as she reports on the shifting elements of dark and light in everyday moments, and tracks the physics of feeling – attraction and repulsion, chaos and sudden, rare, fleeting clarity.” --Donna Seaman, ALA Booklist

“A beautiful book . . . with its theme of life’s fierce tenacity . . . Because of a keen intelligence, [Muske-Dukes’s] portrayals are neither sentimental nor occasions for protest.  Instead they are colorful, accurate, and strikingly alive.” –Grace Schulman, New York Journal of Books

“Scathing intelligence and an open heart: the most difficult combination in the world, and bountifully manifest on every page. In the birth room, at the death bed, beneath the falling ash of a California wildfire, before the whole, hurt spectacle of an imperiled and beloved world, these poems remind us what it’s truly like to see and feel. And oh, the achieved musicianship: every image and abutment, every syllable and turn of diction earns its place in the cadence of the whole. These poems arrive like a life line.”  --Linda Gregerson

“Much of Muske-Dukes’s verse kneads at the hardships of womanhood . . . nearly every poem heaves with grief or torment or even, at times, profound love.” –Caitlin Youngquist, The Paris Review