Literature 8-18-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: About the Judges (August-October 2008)

Read more about this quarter's esteemed What Light panel of readers: Maria Damon, Carol Muske-Dukes, Patricia Kirkpatrick.


Our judges for this round—Maria Damon, Patricia Kirkpatrick, and Carol Muske-Dukes—selectted twelve winning poems to be posted, one poem per week for the next three months, on and Membership on is FREE.

About our judges:

Maria Damon
Maria Damon teaches poetry and poetics at the University of Minnesota, where she is Professor of English. She is the author of many essays on poetry and poetics as well as The Dark End of the Street: Margins in American Vanguard Poetry (Minnesota UP) and the forthcoming Bagel Shop Jazz: Selected Essays for a Post-literary “America” (Iowa UP), co-author (with mIEKAL aND) of Literature Nation, Eros/ion, and pleasureTEXTpossession, and co-editor (with Ira Livingston) of the forthcoming Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader (Illinois UP). She is a fellow-traveler in the Flarf Collective.
Poetics statement:
I am enamored of the raw and the “wrong,” the micropoetries of everyday life, and so forth. Favorite poets right now: bpNichol, John Wieners, Adeena Karasick, Kamau Brathwaite, Alan Sondheim, Talan Memmott. What I’m reading right now: a pretty mediocre collection of critical essays on Hans Christian Andersen, and a pretty wonderful collection of Walter Benjamin’s unpublished notes, including a section of “Opinions et Pensées” of his toddler son.

Patricia Kirkpatrick
Patricia Kirkpatrick has published a poetry book, Century’s Road (Holy Cow! Press), two letterpress chapbooks, Orioles and Learning to Read, and books for young readers. Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bush Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, and, in 2006, the McKnight Fellowship Loft Award in Poetry. Poetry is forthcoming in The Poets Guide to the Birds, edited by Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser, Prairie Schooner, and on Saint Paul sidewalks through the Saint Paul Everyday Poetry Project. She teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University where she is Poetry Editor for Water-Stone Review.

She says, “I’m a lyric poet: we want to sing! I’m intrigued when a ‘highly charged lyrical phrase,’ colloquial even plain language, and/or experimental velocities express the inner life, dream and feeling. But the inner life takes place in a world where one civilization overtakes another, where ‘progress’ fractures landscapes, ways of life, and poetry too. Certain subjects interest me: birth, death, landscape, the historical moment in which we live, our power–or lack of power–as Americans. Yet no subject works separately from how a poem is made, and the creation of music and metaphor in poetry mean everything to me.”

Carol Muske-Dukes
Carol Muske-Dukes is author of seven books of poetry, most recently Sparrow, a National Book Award finalist published by Random House, 2003. Her fourth novel, Channeling Mark Twain, from Random House, is in stores now. Carol’s collection of essays entitled Married to the Icepick Killer, A Poet in Hollywood was published in August of 2002. Her collection of reviews and critical essays, Women and Poetry: Truth, Autobiography and the Shape of the Self was published in the “Poets on Poetry” series of the University of Michigan Press, 1997. She is a regular critic for the New York Times Book Review and the LA Times Book Review. Her work appears everywhere from the New Yorker to L.A. Magazine and she is anthologized widely, including in Best American Poems, 100 Great Poems by Women and many others.
     She is professor of English and Creative Writing and founding Director of the new PhD Program in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.
     She has received many awards and honors, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, an Ingram-Merrill, the Witter Bynner award from the Library of Congress, the Castagnola award from the Poetry Society of America, and several Pushcart Prizes.

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