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Alumna Muske-Dukes nominated for National Book Award

November 11, 2003

Photo of Carol Muske-Dukes"Sparrow," a collection of poems by alumna Carol Muske-Dukes, was nominated for the 2003 National Book Award in poetry last month. The book, inspired by the loss of Muske-Dukes' husband, meditates on grief and loss and the transformative powers of expression and experience found in the marriage of two artists. Muske-Dukes is one of five nominees for the prestigious award.

A graduate of SFSU's master's program in creative writing, Muske-Dukes is an accomplished, renowned author of poetic and fiction works. "Sparrow" is the latest of her seven books of poetry, which include the volumes "An Octave Above Thunder" and "Red Trousseau." Her poems appear regularly in magazines such as The New Yorker and L.A. Magazine and in anthologies.

Muske-Dukes has also published three novels: "Dear Digby," "Saving St. Germ" and "Life After Death." In a tragic example of life imitating art, the death of actor David Dukes, Muske-Dukes' husband, coincided with the publication of "Life After Death," in which the protagonist's husband dies of a heart attack.

Along with her creative works, Muske-Dukes is a regular critic for The New York Times Book Review and the Los Angeles Times Book Review and has published a collection of reviews and critical essays titled "Women and Poetry: Truth, Autobiography and the Shape of the Self." A complete list of her works can be found on Muske-Dukes' Web site.

Muske-Dukes attended San Francisco State in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was a leader in the feminist poetry movement that characterized the 1970s and 1980s.

"She is one of our most distinguished graduates, with novels and many collections of poetry to her credit," says Professor Maxine Chernoff, chair of the Creative Writing Department and a poet herself. "It is wonderful that she is nominated for this prestigious award for her new collection. Her voice in poetry is always fresh and immediate and important."

Muske-Dukes heads the doctoral program in creative writing at University of Southern California and previously taught at Columbia University.

She has received several significant awards and honors, including a Guggenheim fellowship, the Witter Bynner award from the Library of Congress and the Castagnola award from the Poetry Society of America.

The National Book Awards are among the nation's most important literary prizes. The awards recognize books of exceptional merit written by Americans.

-- Matt Itelson with Public Affairs Student Writer Javier Jimenez





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Last modified November 12, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs