Poetry and Hollywood seem like the ultimate odd couple, and once upon a time the accomplished poet, novelist, and critic Carol Muske-Dukes might have agreed. But no longer.
This is a collection of real-life adventures and meditations on literature and landscape. In Married to the Icepick Killer, Muske-Dukes explores the uniquely Southern Californian approach to poetry, including the random appearance of poems by Emily Dickinson and others on L. A. billboards; the hiring of poet-consultants to “top off” the final scene of a submarine action film; and the wonder of teaching a genius surfer poet. She also illuminates the pure poetry of falling in love with actor David Dukes, who introduced her to the City of Angels and its poetic paradoxes. Poets from Dickinson to Brecht, Robinson Jeffers, Arna Bontemps, and Randall Jarrell make appearances in these pages, and are seen in rapid close-up as the author reveals her talent as “camera,” witness, and learned and intrepid adventurer and social critic.
Muske-Dukes is a wise and hilarious diviner of correspondences and contradictions. In Married to the Icepick Killer (the title is taken from Muske-Dukes’s wry, loving remembrance of her late husband’s exceedingly varied career), she provides a geographical (and commercial) context for cultural counterpoint and shows how it both complements and collides head-on with a poet’s sensibility.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Being familiar with and a fan of Muske-Dukes' poetry and fiction--have you read "Dear Digby"? If not, why not?--I can't understand the brief, snide "criticism" of one of her customer reviewers. The essays in "Icepick" celebrate, disect and illuminate a cultural mish-mash of writers and writing history in California--and offer insight into the "writing scene" in LA, so closely knit as it is with movies, ocean, earthquakes and sun and a literary history overlooked! It is not enough to pass off an accomplished author's work in one snide line. It is misleading and unfortunate. It is obvious from CMD's essays her passionate belief in the art of poetry, of writing, and the life of a writer in sprawling Los Angeles, passion that makes for an engaging read.
Acerbic, funny, culturally aware and crackling with insight, as are Ms. Muske Dukes's poems and criticism
Narrow, incomplete and pretentious, as are Ms. Muske-Dukes' poems and poetic opinions.
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