The Golden State has had a poet laureate program since 1915. Current P.L Carol Muske-Dukes' most recent book of poetry, Sparrow was a National Book Award finalist. It's about the her relationship with her late husband, David Dukes.
Through Muske-Dukes' website, you can access information on The Magic Poetry Bus. It's her P.L. project. Teachers, you'll want to check out the "techniques for learning and loving poems."
by Carol Muske-Dukes
It was the river that made them two—
The mills on one side,
The cathedral on the other.
We watched its swift currents:
If we stared long enough, maybe
It would stop cold and let us
Skate across to the other side.
It never froze in place—though
I once knew a kid, a wild funny
Girl who built a raft from branches
(Which promptly sank a few feet out
From the elbow bend off Dayton’s Bluff)
Who made it seem easy to believe.
We’d tried to break into Carver’s Cave,
Where bootleggers hid their hot stash
Years after the Dakota drew their snakes
And bears on the rock walls and canoed
Inside the caverns. We knew there were
Other openings in the cliffs, mirroring
Those same rock faces on the other shore—
And below them the caves, the subterranean
Pathways underlying the talk and commerce,
The big shot churches, undermining the false
Maidenliness of the convent school from which
My friend was eventually expelled for being
Too smart and standing up for her own smartness.
Too late, I salute you, Katy McNally. I think
That the river returned then to two-sidedness—
An overhung history of bottle-flash and hopelessness.
I see you still—laughing
Read the poem's conclusion at the New Yorker.
Carol Muske-Dukes' poem "Twin Cities" begins by describing a specific place. The poets' feelings about this place are wrapped up in memories of a person, Katy McNally. Let's use Muske-Dukes form to write a portrait poem.
- Begin with a visual description of a place.
- Who do you associate with that place? Show what that person is doing there. (An action that reveals his/her character.)
- Return to describing the place and its history
- but end the poem with a reflection about the person.
Our Poetry Friday host is Diane at Random Noodling. So heat up some ramen noodles and dig into today's poetry posts!