Married to the Icepick Killer by Carol Muske-Dukes
A Poet in Hollywood

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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.

About Carol Muske-Dukes

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Carol Muske-Dukes is the director of the graduate program in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship among them, she has published six collections of poetry. Her most recent collection is An Octave Above Thunder. She has written three novels: Saving St. Germ, Dear Digby, and, most recently, Life After Death. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.
Published August 1, 2002 by Random House. 224 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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(What a surprise: it didn’t work out.) Poetry and politics also make a curious mix: the author reports on a 1998 gathering of 50 poets at Clinton's White House, where the president's face lit up at the mention of Seamus Heaney.

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Publishers Weekly

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The chair of the graduate writing program at USC, Muske-Dukes has written novels (Life After Death) and poetry collections (An Octave Above Thunder);

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