Carol Muske-Dukes has produced yet another collection of ground-breaking poetry. While we relish the idea of writing exultations and appreciations of this astounding work, we must step aside for you to hear the words of those who speak from higher positions of genuine authority and understanding. Here are the praises of three who reside in poetry’s pantheon followed by just one of the gorgeous and fearsome poems in Twin Cities. We will offer another next week, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t wait and bought the book today.

“’I come from Twin Cities,’ says the speaker in Carol Muske-Dukes bold new book, and though she means the double metropolis of the Midwest, she is also of two minds, of desire and reason, the inner and the outer, the two coasts of a nation. This voice veers from intimacy to an almost invulnerable shoot-from-the-hip dazzle, and it makes Twin Cities urgent, high-energy and all-the-way alive.”

— Mark Doty

“Invokes comparisons with the very best poetry now being written in the English-speaking world (with its) vibrant intensity, authentic insight, and uncanny power of describing what is at the border between the visual and the visionary.”

— Harold Bloom

“Muske-Dukes’ fast-moving poems reach deep slow truths, and their unique speed of perception both thrills, intoxicates and reminds us exactly how scary we are as we accelerate into our un-postponabale appointment with the present.”

— Jorie Graham




I own them both.

Sometimes I wake up

In somebody else’s night.

Somebody else’s day.


I enjoy entering the lives

Of no one I know. You

Learn to live in transit,

Both trigger and safety.


I’ve been on the run since

He stopped drawing breath.

You want to be with me?

Boarding pass is my answer.


So every democracy of one’s life

Has a little tyrant time. Perpetual

Motion, within my own shadow—

Away from me. I pledge allegiance


To it: Beauty, beauty. Skyscraper

Caverns, the gold riprap of heels

On pavement, silver Chrysler head-

Dress, jeweled fan of Korean fruits.


Times dropped like a straphanger on

The tracks. Then jet streams, operatic:

Desert-by-the-sea, back-lot, blue jaca-

Randa boulevards. A house afloat on


Earth, many houses rippling like the

Screen coming down in the screening

Room of someone I call Pal. O my pal

Is a vampire, sky-high on Sunset Blvd.,


Showing his choppers. Come to me,

Bloodlust, better yet good coffee on

Either side of the country. Blue ambassador,

I believe in myself. Like a law book studied in

Solitary: I want to be in as much as I want out.

Reprinted with permission from the author. From Twin Cities. Penguin Books (Penguin Poets), Copyright Carol Muske-Dukes 2011, New York, NY.




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